TRAVERSE CITY — Rob Benedict had never been to Michigan before taking the 13-hour drive from suburban Philadelphia.
But when he arrived, he saw a familiar face.
Benedict and Beach Bums backup catcher Chris Cowell played against each other during high school.
“It was nice to see someone I knew,” Benedict said. “I had someone to talk to right away.”
Benedict is expected to be the team’s starting second baseman after playing for the New Jersey Jackals and Camden River Sharks in Can-Am League last year.
“I saw the woods, and I was like, ‘This is going to be great,’” Benedict said of his first drive through Michigan. “It’s quieter than what I’m used to in the Philadelphia area and the guys on the team are great.”
He’ll also have to adjust to not having to adjust to the field. He hasn’t played on a home field with artificial turf before.
“The ball gets true hops,” Benedict said. “And you’re faster naturally on turf. I’m looking forward to that.”
TWO FIRST ROUNDERS: When the Beach Bums were at the Frontier League’s tryout, they identified two pitchers they really wanted to select in the first round.
They targeted Tanner Tripp and Will Rankin. But they only had one first-round pick.
As it turns out, the choice was easy. Rankin didn’t stay for the second day of workouts, and therefore wasn’t eligible to be drafted. The Bums drafted Tripp, who’s expected to be one of the team’s starting pitchers.
Then they ended up signing Rankin as well.
“The two guys we wanted were the two guys we got,” Traverse City manager Dan Rohn said. “It was some goof up; (Rankin) didn’t come back for the second half of the tryout, so nobody could draft him. He ended up calling us afterwards, so we signed him. It worked out great.”