BY DENNIS CHASE firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Even the Windy City Thunderbolts could see a difference in Taylor Wrenn.
The Traverse City shortstop, hitting just .190 in his last 10 games, stroked three hits, stole a base, scored three runs and threw out a runner at home Sunday evening as the Beach Bums defeated the Thunderbolts 6-1 at Wuerfel Park.
"I was talking to (Michael) Torres (Windy City second baseman) and he said, 'You look like a different hitter today,'" Wrenn recalled. "I said, 'I feel like a different hitter.'
"I was getting a little erratic at the plate. I was trying to do too much. I really feel like this was the first game that my timing's been back. I felt like I did earlier in the season (when he had a 21-game hitting streak). Hopefully, it will carry over for the next couple weeks because I've been cold for awhile. I'm hoping to get hot again."
The win gave Traverse City the series with the Thunderbolts and put the East Division-leading Beach Bums 12 games over .500 at 33-21.
Jacob Clem worked the first six innings, allowing one run on six hits to run his record to 5-4. Clem surrendered a run in the first on Chad Cregar's RBI single and he pitched out of a jam in the second when Wrenn threw out Evan Button at the plate. After that, he settled down and stayed out of trouble.
"The first couple innings I wasn't myself," Clem said. "I wasn't throwing too many strikes. As the game went on, I started feeling more comfortable, my stuff got a lot better and our team played great defense."
Traverse City finished with 10 hits and stole six bases — two apiece by Carlo Testa and Matt Howard. Traverse City has now been successful on 51 of 60 attempts this season.
"They had a new catcher (Doug Joyce) behind the plate and we wanted to take advantage of that," Wrenn said. "The game plan was to run on this guy. We have good team speed."
The Beach Bums tied the game in the third when Wrenn and Jose Vargas singled to put runners on the corners. Chase Burch delivered a sacrifice fly to score Wrenn.
In the second, the Beach Bums thievery on the base paths started to come into play. Howard, on first after a force out, swiped second and scampered home on Chris Cowell's single. In the fifth, Wrenn and Testa singled to again put runners on the corners. Testa then stole second and Zach Kometani followed with a single to left to knock in both runners.
Traverse City added a solo run in the seventh on two walks, a fielder's choice and a passed ball. Wrenn doubled, stole third and came home on a throwing error by Joyce for the final run in the eighth.
"I actually felt I was part of the game today," Wrenn said. "I've been feeling out of the loop. If I can get going at the top half of the lineup, it's going to help this team win."
Vargas and Kometani each had two hits.
Burny Mitchem and Nick Capito combined to pitch three shutout innings of relief.
For Clem, it was his second strong outing in a row. He allowed just one earned run in six innings against the Frontier Greys before the All-Star break.
"I'm feeling better," he said. "I had that hamstring (injury) and it's back to full strength. I think my second half will be better."
Traverse City hits the road for six games, starting tonight in Evansville. Scott Dunn will put his 10-0 mark on the line. He'll be opposed by Ryan Zamorsky.