TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City brought the tying run to the plate with bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday, but the Pit Spitters’ 18-game winning streak still ended.
It was an off night for a Spitters team that has rarely been anything but locked on since their last loss on June 20, losing 7-5 to the Kenosha Kingfish.
Four Traverse City errors and five unearned Kenosha runs dug an improbable hole from which to climb.
Still, the Pit Spitters had a chance.
Riley Bertram seized a little magic by delivering a bases-loaded RBI single, following three straight walks, in the bottom of the ninth. The run cut Kenosha’s commanding 7-3 lead to three, but the offense that pounded out 14 hits sputtered.
No. 8 hitter Jake Arnold struck out. No. 9 hitter Drake Titus grounded into a fielder’s choice that produced a run, making the score 7-5, but the odds shrank dramatically.
A fly ball by leadoff hitter Hudson Byorick ended the rally and winning streak.
The box score read like a game the Pit Spitters (30-14) should have won. Traverse City nearly doubled Kenosha’s hit total, 14-8, but the four errors — two of which came in a six-run Kenosha fourth inning — proved costly.
Chad Patrick absorbed the loss for the Pit Spitters, giving up seven runs (two earned) in four innings of work, which included six hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
Garett Simmons (1.1 IP), Jon Beuckelaere (2.2 IP) and Will Buraconak (1.0 IP) continued the superb play of Traverse City’s bullpen, combining to allow two hits and no runs.
Arnold, Titus, Jake Wilson, Mario Camilletti each had two hits, while Michael Slaten had three for the Pit Spitters.
Byorick, Camilletti, Slaten (HR), Bertram and Titus each had one RBI.
Harry Orth earned the win in relief for Kenosha, pitching 3.1 innings and allowing one run on four hits and three walks. Nate Seprosky earned the save for the Kingfish (16-27).
Mike Jarvis led the Kingfish at the plate, hitting 2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI.
The 18-game winning streak accomplished by the Pit Spitters is the Northwoods League’s all-time mark for consecutive victories.
The previous record was set by the 2007 Madison Mallards at 16 games.
Traverse City will attempt to begin a new winning streak 7:05 p.m. Thursday when it welcomes the Wisconsin Woodchucks (20-23) of the Great Lakes West Division to Pit Spitters Park.