from staff reports
TRAVERSE CITY — Jacob Clem and the Traverse City Beach Bums were cruising along with a 5-0 lead in the ninth Wednesday night.
Then things got interesting.
The Beach Bums had to snuff out a suicide squeeze to prevent the tying run from scoring in a 5-4 Frontier League win over Washington at Wuerfel Park.
Clem was working on a shutout until the Wild Things opened the top of the ninth with two singles, a hit batter and an RBI single by Taylor Oldham. That was the end of his night. Matt Miller came on in relief and was greeted by Johnathon Erb's bases-loaded triple to make it a one-run game.
Enter closer Scott Mueller. He struck out pinch hitter Shain Stoner for the first out. Then, with Matt McConnell at the plate, pinch runner Doug Thennis broke for home on a squeeze play, but Traverse City catcher Marcus Nidiffer came out of his crouch for a pitch out and tagged Thennis coming down the line.
That proved key because McConnell singled on the next pitch. Mueller retired Tanner Leighton on a grounder to end the game and pick up the save.
The Beach Bums had taken a 2-0 lead in the third on Jeff Flagg's two-run double. They added a run on a throwing error in the fifth and picked up two more in the sixth on a two-run homer by Jose Vargas, his eighth of the season.
Traverse City pounded out 11 hits. Vargas had three hits and Flagg and Ryan Still two.