TRAVERSE CITY — Small ball led to a couple of big wins.
Traverse City West did all the little things right to post 2-1 and 4-2 victories over rival Traverse City Central to remain undefeated in Big North Conference play and claim the Murchie Memorial Baseball Trophy.
“That’s one thing we’ve said from day one, is that we’re going to hold our hat on pitching and defense,” West manager Matt Bocian said. “We’re going to scratch and claw for any runs that we can get. We go as our pitching staff goes.”
And the Titans’ pitching showed up.
Max Ludka struck out seven in a complete-game three-hitter. Keegan Kenny followed that up with a six-strikeout, four-hit performance in the nightcap.
“Those are our two top dogs — and they did well,” Bocian said. “That’s what we need out of our starting pitchers.”
West scratched out single runs in the third and sixth innings of the first contest.
Central had just knotted the game at 1-1 on an Alex Conz RBI single to score Logan Briggs in the top of the sixth. West came back with a two-out rally, started by a Kenny walk and aided by a two-base error in the outfield that set up Jeff Turnquist to be the hero.
Designated hitter Jacob Dean batted in place of Turnquist much of the game, but Turnquist hit for himself in the sixth and beat out an infield single that scored Kenny with the winning run.
“They had some miscues, we had some miscues,” Bocian said. “We took advantage of them and just came out on top. Timely hitting is what we needed and situational hitting.”
West’s first run came on a Wes Talbot sacrifice bunt that brought in Dean, who had doubled and advanced to third by a Jacob Newhouse bunt single.