By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — After a decent start to Friday’s game against Windy City, the Traverse City Beach Bums appeared to suffer the effects of the All-Star break layoff.
The Beach Bums resumed play after four days off and were handed a 4-3 loss to Windy City at Wuerfel Park.
Traverse City was plagued by a couple errors in the middle innings, and when combined with walks and hit batters, couldn’t overcome those miscues in losing the first of three straight games against the ThunderBolts.
His team’s play in the fifth and sixth innings — when Windy City scored each of the runs it needed — didn’t exactly sit well with Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn.
“I thought we were fine until the fifth, sixth and seventh innings,” said Langbehn. “I thought we played as poorly as I can ever remember here. Mentally and physically weren’t there. We didn’t pitch well enough, that’s the bottom line. This much I know, in five years that I’ve been at this ballpark, when the wind blows in, if you walk people, if you hit people and if you make errors defensively, you’re going to lose. It’s that simple, and we did all those.”
Trailing 2-0 heading into the fifth, Windy City manufactured three runs on two hits, with the help of an error and a walk, to take a lead it would never relinquish. Similarly in the sixth, the ThunderBolts capitalized on a leadoff walk that ultimately was the deciding run of the game, with another costly error allowing the run come in.
“It was a disappointing effort in the middle of the game,” Langbehn said. “I thought we played very poorly. Provided the pitching with a 2-0 lead, but just didn’t maintain. The whole tempo and rhythm was gone. We lost it as quick as we had it. That’s what we get. You play that bad, you’re going to lose.”
Johnny Omahen (4-5) started for the Beach Bums, allowing four hits and two walks and fanning four in five innings of work. Burny Mitchem worked the sixth and allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one. Those two gave up all four of Windy City’s runs, but only one of those was earned. Omahen was stellar in the first four innings. He didn’t allow a baserunner until Michael Torres’ one-out double in the fourth and nobody advanced beyond second until things fell apart in the fifth.
Dyllon Nuernberg (5-1) got the win for the ThunderBolts, scattering seven hits over seven innings, walking two and striking out six. After he gave up a couple of runs in the second inning he settled in and held the Traverse City lineup in check. The Beach Bums didn’t collect more than two hits in any inning.
“I just tried to keep the ball down,” Nuernberg said. “The wind was blowing in so it was a little to my advantage to keep the ball down and let them hit it. I was pretty confident the only way they could really hurt me was down the line. So I just tried to keep them off-balance so they weren’t just hitting dead red. The minute they get three, four hits stuff turns around and that’s when big innings happen, and to win ball games you have to stay away from the big inning.”
Traverse City took the early lead when Chase Burch led off with a single and Carlo Testa walked. Sean Gusrang singled the first run home, as Testa advanced to third. Testa scored moments later on a wild pitch.
“A couple of mistakes early,” said Nuernberg. “Leaving the ball down the middle. Guys just getting some good wood on it. After that I started to expand, which I wasn’t getting some of the calls, but stopped leaving the ball down the middle.”
Traverse City pulled to within one run in the seventh as Marcus Nidiffer had a one-out single and scored on Taylor Wrenn’s two-out single, but couldn’t get the tying run over the next two innings.
Though the Beach Bums had some defensive struggles, they also made plays in the field. Gusrang threw out two runners attempting to score at the plate — one in the fifth and the other in the seventh.
Nidiffer’s two hits led the Beach Bums’ offense.
The two teams meet up again tonight at 7:05 p.m. Traverse City will send Jake Sabol (6-4) to the mound, while Windy City is starting Matt Wickswat (2-8).