Sports in Brief: 04/14/2016

The Stafford's Top of Michigan Community Marathon route is primarily off-road on the asphalt-paved Little Traverse Wheelway, and offers views of Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay.

Beach Bums trade Austin for infielder

TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Beach Bums completed a trade with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association, acquiring infielder Brett Balkan and a player to be named later in exchange for outfielder Jay Austin.

Balkan hit .246 with six doubles and seven RBIs in 37 games for the Canaries last season. He also stole four bases and struck out just five times in 137 plate appearances. Balkan was one of the top defensive shortstops in the league, committing just two errors for a .988 fielding percentage.

He spent parts of two seasons in the Pecos League prior to joining Sioux Falls, hitting .328 with 16 doubles and 37 RBIs, splitting time between the Raton Osos and the Roswell Invaders.

The California native hit .288 in his collegiate career with Cal State Northridge and San Diego Mesa College.

Austin was a Frontier League All-Star starting outfielder last season, hitting .319 with 16 steals, four home runs, 32 RBIs and 39 runs. Traverse City also has All-Star outfielder Brandon Jacobs and starter Jeff DeBlieux returning, and has signed three other outfielders, including Pecos League All-Star Wesley Wallace.

The Beach Bums begin defense of their Frontier League crown May 13 at Southern Illinois. The home opener is May 20 against Joliet.

Beach Bums add radio voice Willms

TRAVERSE CITY — The Beach Bums have added Tom Willms as the team's director of broadcasting.

Willms previously did games for the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League, where he spent the last two years as their main broadcaster and media relations liason. He was with the Atlantic League's Sugar Land Skeeters and the Trenton Generals of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League in prior seasons.

Willms is also a hockey broadcaster, working for a number of teams in the Philadelphia area, including the Aston Rebels, the Philadelphia Little Flyers and Neumann University’s men’s and women’s NCAA hockey teams.

Willms spends the off-season in Audubon Park, N.J., with his wife of nine years, Rochelle. They have an 8-year-old daughter, Madison, and a 2-year-old son, Zachary.

The Beach Bums do not yet have a deal with an area radio station to broadcast games, but chief financial officer Leslye Weurfel said the team is working on securing a new station. Beach Bums games were broadcast on Classic Rock The Bear (FM-98.1/107.1) last season.

Red Cross golf outing set for June 24

TRAVERSE CITY — The American Red Cross of Northern Michigan's Services to Armed Forces golf outing is June 24 at Elmbrook Golf Course.

The event starts with registration and breakfast at 8 a.m., with golf starting at 9:30 a.m. Lunch and awards are at 1:30 p.m.

The cost is $100 for 18 holes with cart. To register, contact 946-9180 or email

Michigan Legacy Art Park Golf Classic June 7

TRAVERSE CITY — The Michigan Legacy Art Park Golf Classic is scheduled for June 7 at Crystal Mountain.

The fundraiser for the park costs $85 per golfer, and includes lunch and dinner. Dinner only is available for $25.

The event starts with registration at noon and a shotgun start with box lunch at 1 p.m. A barbecue dinner will be at 7 p.m.

To register, call 378-4963, email or visit

Stafford’s Top of Michigan Community Marathon set for May 28

CHARLEVOIX — The inaugural Stafford’s Top of Michigan Community Marathon is scheduled for May 28.

The marathon starts in Charlevoix and follows Little Traverse Wheelway along Lake Michigan through Bay Harbor and Petoskey, with the finish line in Harbor Springs. The event will benefit the Petoskey High School track and cross country teams, as well as the Top of Michigan Trails Council.

The Wheelway, which comprises a majority of the 26.2-mile route, is relatively flat, USA Track & Field certified and offers views of Lake Michigan and Little Traverse Bay.

A 10K run and 10K non-competitive walk will begin in Petoskey at the council’s new Trails Center and will finish in Harbor Springs. Participants in the 10K will receive a race T-shirt. Registration is required for both runners and walkers in the 10K event.

A pre-race dinner will be offered to marathoners on May 27 in Charlevoix. Shuttle service will be available both before and after the race.

Online registration for the marathon and 10K can be completed at (search "Charlevoix Community"). For more information, contact race director Jim Harrington at 989-619-4204 or email

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