TRAVERSE CITY — The pitching was improved.
The defense was better.
The Traverse City Beach Bums' bats couldn't string together enough hits to generate much in the way of offense, however, as Washington squeezed out a 3-2 victory on Wednesday at Wuerfel Park, leading to Traverse City's fourth straight loss.
Washington starter Chris Phelan held the Beach Bums in check over seven innings and Traverse City ended up stranding eight runners on base, including at least one in seven different innings.
"We got a couple of big hits, but we didn't get the one we needed there in the ninth," said Beach Bums manager Dan Rohn. "That kid (Phelan) did a good job. You've got to tip your hat to him."
Phelan scattered six hits before turning the game over to the bullpen, which worked out a bit of jam in the ninth as the Beach Bums had runners at first and second with two out only to have designated hitter Shaun Cooper, who led Traverse City with three hits one night earlier, pop out to second. That was the story of the night for Traverse City, which had runners on base nearly every inning, yet struggled to bring them across the plate.
"It's just putting three or four hits together for us," said Rohn. "We seem to get a double and can't do anything with it. It's just one of those things. Again in the ninth, one out, then we get a base runner and then a walk and it just doesn't happen for us there. Sometimes you tip your hat to them. I don't like to do that, but they played well too. They got the hits when they needed them, and unfortunately we did not."
Trailing 2-1 entering the third inning, the Wild Things got the runs it needed to go ahead for good on back-to-back solo home runs by C.J. Beatty and Stewart Ijames. For Beatty it was his Frontier League-leading six home run of the season. All three Washington runs, including Jim Vahalik's RBI single in the second that put the Wild Things in the lead 1-0, came off Traverse City starter Mike Devine. In six innings Devine gave up six hits, walked five and struck out four.