BY DENNIS CHASE email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Eric Wooten provided the only intrigue Friday night at Wuerfel Park.
The Frontier Greys left-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before surrendering an infield single to Sean Gusrang and then an RBI double to Zach Kometani.
But that’s about all that didn’t go Wooten’s way as the Greys coasted to a 12-2 Frontier League win over the Traverse City Beach Bums.
“It’s fun to have nights like this,” the 23-year-old said. “I was feeling good. The fastball command was on.”
Wooten struck out nine in his eight-inning gem. The former Baltimore Orioles farmhand retired the first 14 batters he faced until Gusrang reached on an error in the fifth. Wooten walked batters in the sixth and seventh, but both were erased in double plays.
With one out in the eight, Gusrang spoiled the no-hit bid when he beat out a chopper to the left side of the infield. Third baseman Brock McCallister charged, but his throw to first was late.
“I gave up some hard hit balls so baseball evens itself out,” Wooten said. “I can’t be too mad with that.”
The hardest hit ball actually came with the next at-bat as Kometani drilled a double over the head of centerfielder Justin Vasquez.
“I used to play with Kometani in a junior college conference (in Arizona),” Wooten said. “So he knows me pretty well. He knows what I throw. Other than that, it was a good night.”
The Greys gave Wooten all the run support he would need in the third by scoring seven runs — all with two outs.
That nullified a good start by Beach Bums right-hander Jacob Clem, who set down the first seven batters in a row.
But a bunt single by Luis Parache, and a throwing error by Clem on the play, gave the Greys the first scoring opportunity — and they took advantage.
After Clem retired former Beach Bum Chris Kay on a fly for the second out, the next eight Frontier batters reached base, thanks in part to some sloppy play by the Beach Bums. Vasquez singled in the first run, but then the floodgates opened when Mark Micowski hit a towering fly to deep right that eluded Kometani for a two-run triple. Balbino Fuenmayor followed with a deep fly to left that Matt Howard dropped, allowing Micowski to score.
In the frame, Clem surrendered five hits, walked two and hit a batter. Burny Mitchem relieved and on an 0-2 pitch threw a wild pitch that brought in the final run of the inning.
It was that kind of night for Traverse City. The Greys scored one run in the fifth on a third strike passed ball — an out that would have ended the inning. In the ninth, Parache hit a liner to center that D’Marcus Ingram tried to make a diving catch on. The ball got past him and rolled all the way to the fence as Parache raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
“I don’t have a lot to say other than I’m glad it’s over,” Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn said as he walked off the field.
The Beach Bums, now 10-9, scored a run in the ninth off reliever Jon Shepard. A ground out by Chase Burch drove in the run. Taylor Wrenn had the lone hit in the ninth, and it extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Chris Squires struck out five in two innings of relief for Traverse City.
The teams meet again tonight with Andrew Morris pitching for the Beach Bums and Graham Johnson for the Greys.