Traverse City’s new baseball team is on a roll. The Pit Spitters, the newest team in the for-profit summer collegiate Northwoods League, on Monday set a league-record win streak of 17 games.
That’s a great accomplishment for a team that played its first game just six weeks ago. The previous league record of 16 straight wins was set in 2007 by the Madison Mallards, a Northwoods League team that was six years old at the time.
The Pit Spitters organization coalesced into a winning team in mere weeks. That’s a tribute to the team’s talent recruitment wisdom.
“It’s unbelievable,” Pit Spitters manager Josh Rebrandt said after Monday’s win. “You never picture doing something like this when you’re recruiting guys. The guys never give up the fight.”
Adam Proctor, a Michigan State University sophomore, hit an eighth-inning home run to seal the Pit Spitters’ Monday 3-2 victory. Other members of the Traverse City team hail from the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University and Saginaw Valley State University — and from far-flung schools like University of North Georgia and New Mexico State.
Team members work hard during the short summer playing season. Monday’s contest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was the Pit Spitters’ 42nd game in six weeks. The schedule is grueling, but the hard work is paying off for the team. The effort could pay off big for individual players — they might catch the attention of major league scouts.
The Pit Spitters’ winning streak is sure to attract attention, and could help standout team members move up in the world of professional baseball. Washington Nationals pitcher and former Detroit Tiger Max Scherzer began his career in the Northwoods League. Since the league started in 1994, more than 200 Northwoods players have gone on to play in the major leagues. In 2019, 76 Northwoods League alumni are active in the major leagues.
The fans are taking notice. Northwoods League games reportedly fill more than 1.1 million spectator seats each season. Some of those seats are in Traverse City’s Pit Spitters Park — and they offer a view of some great baseball action.