BY DENNIS CHASE
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Beach Bums are still perfect on Sundays.
Scott Dunn is still perfect on the season.
The right-hander pitched a two-hit complete game shutout as the Beach Bums finished off a sweep of the Lake Erie Crushers with an 8-0 Frontier League win on a sunny, windy evening at Wuerfel Park.
Dunn, who raised his record to 8-0, needed just 89 pitches to silence the Crushers. He allowed only one hard hit ball, a two-out single in the ninth to Anderson Hidalgo.
Staked to an early 6-0 lead, Dunn pitched to contact, striking out just two.
“I have an amazing defense behind me,” Dunn said. “I give 100 percent, and they know it, and they give 100 percent for me.”
Lake Erie only had three base runners the entire game. Not one advanced past first.
“Dunn did a great job again today, just like he’s done all year,” first baseman Chase Burch said. “He set the tone for us.”
Dunn lowered his ERA to 1.93.
“He’s been unbelievable and extremely pitch efficient,” manager Gregg Langbehn said. “Eighty-nine pitches? That’s incredible. And it was a real credit to him that he endured some really long offensive innings and stayed focus. He didn’t skip a beat.”
The Beach Bums, now 7-0 on Sundays, sent eight batters to the plate in both the first and second innings. Seven batters took their swings in the third. The result? Six runs.
A surprising total, Langbehn said, given the gusty winds that were blowing in.
“I don’t think people understand how hard it is to hit in these conditions,” he said. “It’s certainly a lot easier to pitch, especially in this ballpark.”
Lake Erie pitchers, though, dealt with control issues, walking five and hitting four batters — in the first three innings.
Traverse City had some clutch hits to go with it. Jose Vargas laced a two-run triple to right-center in the first, then Burch followed with a sharp RBI single to left.
In the second, Burch singled in two more runs to make it 5-0. It went to 6-0 an inning later when Burch was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded.
“To score some runs like that in this park, with the winds blowing, that’s almost unheard of,” Burch said.
Although the Beach Bums put six runs on the board in the first three innings, they stranded eight runners.
“Quite honestly, they’re (Crushers) such a good hitting team I was a little worried that we left so many guys on base,” Langbehn said. “I was glad it didn’t come back to hurt us later in the game.”
No need to worry about that, not with the way Dunn was pitching. Langbehn monitored his pitch count and never had to have a reliever throw in the bullpen. It was Dunn’s first complete game of his career.
“It’s a special moment for him,” Langbehn said. “I kept checking the pitch count. It was so low I thought, ‘Did I miss a couple innings?’ He did a great job.”
Traverse City added its final two runs in the eighth. Back to back doubles by Carlo Testa and Zach Kometani accounted for the first run in the eighth. Kometani eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Offensively, Jeremy Banks had three hits for the Beach Bums while Burch, Testa, Kometani, and Matt Howard added two apiece. Burch’s four RBIs raised his league-leading total to 39.
Traverse City finished with 13 hits.
“We don’t care about batting averages,” Langbehn said. “It’s what you do with your opportunities.”
Traverse City, which leads the East Division with a 25-14 record, will host River City in a three-game set, starting Tuesday. Jake Sabol (5-3, 2.18) will get the call for the Beach Bums, Craig Goodman (1-3, 4.40) for River City.