TRAVERSE CITY — By JAMES COOK
You could almost hear a pin drop in the Traverse City locker room.
The silence was created when Southern Illinois' Ken Gregory belted a solo home run on the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning Thursday to give the Miners a 5-4 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series.
"I thought I hit it out, but it's a pretty big field, so I started running right away," Gregory said.
Game 3 is Saturday in Marian, Ill. Game 4 would be Sunday, if the Beach Bums can extend the series.
"We don't have a choice," Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn said. "We've got to win three in a row. We've done that before this year."
After the Beach Bums took a 4-0 five innings into the contest, TC escaped the Miners' half of the eighth with the game tied, as Matt Miller fielded Carlos Mendez's come-backer and threw home to Marcus Nidiffer, who ran Ken Gregory nearly back to third before tagging him and then also tagged pinch runner Will Block, who tried to sneak in an extra base during the play.
"That was kind of strange," Miners manager Mike Pinto said. "I'll leave it at that."
"Pretty unusual," Langbehn said. "It's a tough situation to be in — as far as being a base runner — and it just went kind of haywire for them. Give Miller and Nidiffer and everybody on the infield credit. You could hear them talking and communicating."
Scott Mueller had started the eighth, hitting Javier Herrera with a pitch and walking Gregory before being lifted for Miller. Herrera came in on Cory Harrilchak's infield single to tie the game.
Traverse City had 1-2-3 innings in the ninth and 10th.
"We've got to play better, that's all," Langbehn said. "We didn't play well enough to win."
TC's Jacob Clem cruised through five innings.
"He was keeping the ball down," Pinto said. "He's a good pitcher, there's no doubt about that. Our guys started seeing the ball up a bit, and the turn around was when Ramirez hit the triple. It seemed to excite the dugout a little bit, and then we got another hit and another hit. Next thing you know, you're back in the ballgame."
Scott Dunn came on to close out the sixth when Southern Illinois finally got to Clem, who allowed four straight hits to start the frame, ending up in three runs. Dunn got a fly out and a strikeout to prevent more damage.
"That gave us a new energy and new life in the dugout," Pinto said.
With two runners on, Nick Capito came on and got Jake Kaase to pop up on the first pitch to end the seventh-inning threat.
Clem departed after 5.1 innings, giving up six hits, no walks and fanning two.
"He was extremely efficient through five," Langbehn said. "His pitch count was low. Thirteen of 15 outs were ground balls, just like he did all year. Then he left some pitches up. But he's been a workhorse for us all year. I've got to give them credit, too. They had some pitches up and they didn't miss them. But overall I thought he did awesome."
It wasn't until the fifth inning that the Miners were able to get under a Clem pitch enough to even fly out to the outfield. Both hits through five were singles through the infield.
Daniel Calhoun went five innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, two walks and striking out seven.
Ryan Still led off the game with a full-count single up the middle, followed by a single through the infield's right side. Jose Vargas followed with a ground-rule double that brought in Still, while Brian Heere came across on Chase Burch's fielder's choice and Jeff Flagg singled to left to plate Vargas for a 3-0 lead.
Burch blasted a shot over the left-field wall for a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning.
"We really felt up against the ropes for a lot of that game," Pinto said. "They went ahead four and you've got a long battle ahead and hope you can just peck away at it."
After Burch's homer, the Bums would get only four more base runners, one of those on a hit batsman.
"As an offense, we kind of stalled," Flagg said. "We didn't keep pressing and add on (to the lead). We came out hot, and we need to figure out how to keep that going throughout the game."
Down 0-2, the Beach Bums now face the task of having to win three straight in order to advance to play for the Frontier Cup for the second time in three years.
"It's tough to play here to begin with," Pinto said. "They're such a good team at home. And you know you've got your work cutout for you. Really, you go into a series like this and you say, 'Hey, if we can split and get one and go home, we have a chance there.' To come here and take two is a huge thing for the team."
"There nothing else we can ask for, coming out of this up 2-0," Gregory said. "Hopefully we can go home and wrap it up."
TRAVERSE CITY — By JAMES COOK
Bums ace hurler headed closer to home
A desire to play close to home led to a trade announced Tuesday that sent Traverse City ace pitcher Scott Dunn to the Washington Wild Things for All-Star infielder Jovan Rosa and a first round draft pick.Continued ...
Beach Bums trade Burch to RedHawks
TRAVERSE CITY -- A longtime fixture in the heart of the Traverse City Beach Bums lineup is gone. The Beach Bums traded first baseman Chase Burch to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the American Association for a player to be named later and other consiContinued ...
Bums' Langbehn: Season was a success
If it were up to Traverse City Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn, his team would still be fighting for a Frontier League championship. But even after a Divisional Series loss to Lake Erie, Langbehn was happy with the way his team performed this year.Continued ...
Beach Bums season ends with rain-delayed loss
A crushing Game 5 loss in Friday’s early hours ended the Traverse City Beach Bums’ season.Continued ...
Game 5 of Bums' series delayed by rain
The fifth and deciding game of the Frontier League Divisional Series between Traverse City and Lake Erie was delayed by rain on Thursday with the Beach Bums leading 4-2 in the seventh inning.Continued ...
Crushers force Game 5, stun Beach Bums late
The Traverse City Beach Bums were seven outs away from their second-ever trip to the Frontier League Championship Series on Wednesday.Continued ...
- Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Video: Lake Erie 13, Beach Bums 3
Traverse City Beach Bums' first baseman Chase Burch shares his thoughts on tonight's 13-3 loss to Lake Erie. The Frontier League Divisional Series is now tied at 2-2.Continued ...
Bums take 2-1 series lead
Forget about home plate or third base, even second base seemed like a mirage to the Lake Erie Crushers on Tuesday night.Continued ...
- Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Video: TC Beach Bums vs. Lake Erie
Watch interviews with Traverse City's starting pitcher Mike Devine and Manager Gregg Langbehn after the Bums' 5-0 win over Lake Erie, which gave Traverse City a 2-1 lead in its playoff series with the Crushers.Continued ...
- Monday, September 9, 2013
Lake Erie ties series with Bums
Traverse City’s Frontier League playoff series will be coming back to town all knotted up at a game apiece.Continued ...
- Sunday, September 8, 2013
Bums take Game 1 from Crushers
Scott Dunn and Matt Miller combined to shut out the Lake Erie Crushers as the Traverse City Beach Bums won 8-0 to win Game 1 of their Frontier League playoff series.Continued ...
- Saturday, September 7, 2013
Beach Bums open playoff series tonight
The second season begins tonight for the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Friday, September 6, 2013
Bums beat Lake Erie to snap streak
Traverse City snapped an 11-game road losing streak on Thursday, ending the regular season with a 2-0 win over Lake Erie.Continued ...
- Thursday, September 5, 2013
Crushers clinch East championship
Lake Erie clinched the East Division championship with a 5-1 win Wednesday over the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Bums lose, clinch playoff spot
AVON, Ohio — Lake Erie's Anderson Hidalgo singled in Craig Hertler with one out in the 12th inning as the Crushers handed Traverse City a 3-2 loss Tuesday in the opening game of a series to decide the Frontier League's East Division. Even with that lContinued ...
- Monday, September 2, 2013
Gusrang wins game for Bums
Sean Gusrang’s two-out, game-wining RBI single in the 10th inning Sunday night set the stage for what promises to be an intriguing end to the Frontier League’s regular season.Continued ...
- Sunday, September 1, 2013
Bums no-hit by Joliet, lose 4-1
Six Joliet pitchers combined on a no-hitter Saturday night as the Slammers beat the Traverse City Beach Bums 4-1 in 10 innings.Continued ...
- Saturday, August 31, 2013
Beach Bums beat Joliet Slammers
Scott Woodward homered and drove in two runs to help the Traverse City Beach Bums stay atop the Frontier League’s East Division.Continued ...
- Friday, August 30, 2013
Burch hits walk-off grand slam in 11th
In the 11th inning, the Washington Wild Things walked Jose Vargas to load the bases and get to Chase Burch.Continued ...
- Monday, August 26, 2013
Beach Bums finish sweep of Normal
Remarkably, it only took a few days for Traverse City to make its recent six-game skid seem like a distant memory.Continued ...
- Sunday, August 25, 2013
Beach Bums beat Normal
The rollercoaster ride of the Traverse City Beach Bums continued Saturday as the Bums topped Noral 5-2 at Wuerfel Park for their second straight win.Continued ...
- Friday, August 23, 2013
Beach Bums drop sixth straight game
Traverse City dropped its sixth straight game on Thursday as River City completed a three-game sweep of the Beach Bums, 8-5.Continued ...
- Thursday, August 22, 2013
Beach Bums let lead slip away
River City plated six runs in the sixth inning to edge the slumping Beach Bums 6-5 in a Frontier League clash here.Continued ...
- Wednesday, August 21, 2013
River City tops Bums, 8-5
River City exploded for five runs in the bottom of the seventh for a come-from-behind 8-5 Frontier League win over the Beach Bums, who have now dropped seven road games in a row.Continued ...
- Monday, August 19, 2013
Boomers sweep Beach Bums with 5-3 win
Traverse City and Schaumburg came into their three-game series each atop their division. Not any more.Continued ...
- Bums ace hurler headed closer to home