TRAVERSE CITY —A three-run sixth inning proved to be the difference as River City came into Wuerfel Park and took the opener of a three-game set 5-3 from the Traverse City Beach Bums.
"It's a big win for our ball club," Rascals manager Steve Brook said. "Coming in and facing arguably the best team in the league at their ball park. It's a tough place to hit in, and the wind's blowing straight in. Our guys got pretty good at-bats. We scored a lot of our runs with two outs."
A two-out triple in the sixth by Curran Redal — River's City's only player remaining from a 45-50 team last season — brought home Evan Crawford for what would prove to be the winning run.
"We have an excellent pitching and defensive club," Brook said. "We've had 19 games this season where we've scored two runs or less. We're trying to stay with the mentality that these guys are going to come around and we can manufacture runs. We were fortunate enough to get that done."
River City came into the game with similar batting averages (both are at .249) and on-base percentages (TC's .349 to .346) as Traverse City, but had scored 63 fewer runs.
"They played better than we did," Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn said. "They outplayed us. They deserved to win; we didn't."
Traverse City starter Jake Sabol started out shaky, giving up a run in the first on three singles. But he bounced back in the second — working a six-pitch, 1-2-3 frame — and facing the minimum number of batters in the second through fifth innings.
"We got to Sabol pretty well — as far as good at-bats — and were able to produce some runs," Brook said. "And we needed that win."