TRAVERSE CITY — 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.
Traverse City edged Joliet 4-3 on Fan Appreciation Night at Wuerfel Park, keeping the Beach Bums in a first-place tie with Lake Erie in the East Division. Traverse City hits the road to face Lake Erie in a three-game showdown series to decide the title starting Tuesday night. The two teams are 54-39.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Gusrang said moments after his single drove in Jose Vargas with the winning run. “That’s why you play the game. Hopefully, we’ll pull it out.”
The Beach Bums pulled one out Sunday after surrendering a 3-1 lead in the seventh. Vargas led off the 10th when he was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Chase Burch followed with a walk, his fourth of the game. After Zach Kometani bounced into a double play, sending Vargas to third, Gusrang hit an 0-2 pitch up the middle into center. That touched off a mob scene in the infield as players piled on Gusrang.
“I was trying to run from it,” Gusrang said. “It was like a swarm of bees.”
The Slammers brought in reliever Brett Zawacki after the Beach Bums put the first two runners on in the 10th.
“He was making some pitches,” Gusrang said. “It was a battle. You just try your hardest to put the ball in play. You get a good pitch to hit and you try to put a good swing on it, try to win the game for your team.”
The Beach Bums had seen Zawacki on Saturday night as well.
“Guys we’re talking,” Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn said. “I don’t want to get into specifics, but we knew what was coming. I’ll leave it at it. It certainly helps when you’re hitting to know what’s coming.