TRAVERSE CITY — The Frontier Greys may have the worst record in the Frontier League, but they’ve been quite a thorn in the side of Traverse City this season.
So, needless to say, the Beach Bums were not taking Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Greys at Wuerfel Park for granted.
With the win Traverse City (46-30) evened up the season series with the league’s road team at five games apiece. But even this victory didn’t come easily.
The Beach Bums squeezed out single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings and got a great pitching performance from Johnny Omahen.
“I don’t know what it is about this team, but they always give us trouble,” said Carlo Testa, who went 1-for-4 and scored the Beach Bums’ first run. “We don’t take anyone lightly. For some reason there’s something about them. We can’t really figure it out so hats off to them. We played hard today and we got the win so that’s all that matters.”
Frontier manager Brent Metheny said his team just matches up well with the Beach Bums.
“I think Traverse’s pitching matches up with our hitting,” he said. “It’s not overpowering. Their goal is to throw strikes, let the movement of the ball dictate the hitter and let the hitter put it in play and make the plays. Our hitters are kind of free swingers-type of guys so the more strikes they get the more they’re swinging, obviously, putting balls in play.”
Putting the ball in play was difficult for the Greys against Omahen (7-7), who matched a season-high with seven innings pitched and five strikeouts. He scattered five hits and walked only one. Nick Capito pitched the ninth and recorded his 14th save — his second in as many nights.
Only one Frontier batter was able to reach third base.
Traverse City scored its first two runs thanks to aggressive base running and errors by the Greys.
In the fourth, Testa singled and went to second when the throw to first went into the Greys’ dugout. He stole third and scored moments later on a groundout by Zach Kometani. One inning later Matt Howard reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. When the throw to the bag sailed into center field, Howard was able to get to third. Jose Vargas singled Howard home.
“It’s kind of a thing we’ve come to grow into,” said Testa of Traverse City’s thievery. “Knowing our ballpark, we’re not going to get many home runs here as much as other teams are at their home fields. We’re not really a small ball team because we know we can drive the ball, but when the opportunity comes up we’ve got to take our bases. We knew (Frontier starter Casey Delgado) was pretty slow to the plate so we took advantage of that. That’s how it got us some hustle points and some hustle runs.”
Vargas brought in Traverse City’s final run when he doubled home Ryan Still. Vargas went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Kometani was 2-for-4 with one RBI.
Delgado struck out nine in 6.2 innings, but took the loss because his defense wasn’t able to make plays. The Greys (27-49) had five errors.
“He threw a hell of a game. He threw real well, faced their 3-4-5 hitters. Did real well against their big three right there,” said Metheny. “You can’t win with five errors. We’re not a good enough team to make five errors and win. That’s just the truth.”
The two teams square off again tonight with Jake Sabol (8-5) taking the mound for Traverse City.