TRAVERSE CITY — The Beach Bums have already hauled in a ton of awards this season.
Now they have just one more left to get: The Frontier Cup. That journey begins today at home with a best-of-five series with Southern Illinois.
The last time Traverse City entered the postseason-- also the only other time — the Beach Bums went all the way to the championship series before bowing out. This time, they hope to go one step further and bring the Cup to Wuerfel Park on a more permanent basis than the temporary viewing it had at the stadium during the 2010 playoffs.
"I think our guys should be proud of the season they had," TC manager Gregg Langbehn said. "I know they're eagerly awaiting Wednesday. The effort and focus was good the last week after clinching a spot."
Clinching a playoff spot — and the overall top seed — Traverse City has been able to align its starting rotation the way it wants it, while the Miners needed to go to the wire to sew up the final postseason spot. However, Southern Illinois' rotation is deep, and there isn't much drop off between their first four starters.
"Southern Illinois is always good and always in the chase," Langbehn said. "They went through a stretch there where they were teetering back and forth, but in the end, they always find a way to win down the stretch and put themselves in a position to win."
The Beach Bums (64-32) have superior numbers in almost every statistical category, although the Miners (55-39) and Beach Bums evenly split six games this season.
The Miners surged in the second half of the season to earn the fourth and final playoff spot after making a series of trades for fortify their roster — especially solidifying its bullpen — since about the time the Miners took two of three in an Aug. 3-5 series in Traverse City. The Beach Bums had taken two of three at Southern Illinois in a June 11-13 set.
The Miners dealt for Brandon Cunniff on Aug. 3 to solve their closer woes. Three of the five players who have notched saves are no longer with the team. Cunniff leads active players with four saves in seven appearances since the deal.
And an Aug. 1 trade with Washington brought in relievers Nick Cicio and Steve Grife, who have been two of their top bullpen arms ever since. Cicio has a 0.71 ERA in 10 appearances and Grife a 0.82 in 11 games.
Another pickup was outfielder Javier Herrera, who hit six homers in 19 games after being acquired in a trade from Rockford on Aug. 10.
The Beach Bums have the luxury of having been in the comforts of home for four straight days, including the league's two off days Monday and Tuesday. The teams travel on Friday before the series resumes in Marion, Ill., on Saturday and possibly Sunday.
"You're in your home routine a little more," Langbehn said. "It clearly helped us in August. We played so well, as we did all year. But you get in that routine of not being on the bus as much and you can eat at home and sleep at home. You get into your normal schedule for batting practice. These guys worked hard to get themselves into this position, but at the end of the day, you still have to win three of five."
Reid Kelly (10-3, 3.27) takes the mound for tonight's series opener. He'll be opposed by the Miners' David Harden (10-5, 3.05), who has won four of his last five starts and hasn't surrendered more than two earned runs in any of his last six. He tossed seven innings of six-hit ball in a 5-1 win at Wuerfel Park on Aug. 4.
Harden was pounded by the Beach Bums' order in a 9-7 loss June 11, giving up 12 hits and six runs — five earned — in five frames. In 2011, he was 1-1 against TC, giving up just nine hits and three runs in 12 innings.
Ironically, Kelly pitched in relief in the Aug. 4 loss, but was fairly successful, allowing just two hits in 2.1 frames of work. In his only other appearance against Southern Illinois, he gave up five runs — four earned — and seven hits in seven innings of a 5-3 road loss on June 13. Kelly hasn't lost a home start since his Wuerfel Park debut on May 27 against Windy City.
Thursday's Game 2 will see TC's Jacob Clem (7-4, 3.02) take on Daniel Calhoun (7-4, 2.52), while Saturday's Game 3 features a matchup of the Bums' Brooks Belter (10-3, 3.52) and the Miners' Cody Hall (9-1, 2.63).
TRAVERSE CITY — The Beach Bums have already hauled in a ton of awards this season.
Dunn shines, Bums win 1st game
Scott Dunn got it done Sunday. The veteran Traverse City righthander pitched seven shutout innings as the Beach Bums broke into the win column with a 6-2 victory over the Joliet Slammers.Continued ...
Beach Bums fall in Joliet, 6-3
Catcher Grant DeBruin went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs Saturday night as the Joliet Slammers made it two straight over the Traverse City Beach Bums, 6-3.Continued ...
Beach Bums lose, 5-2
Goose Kallunki drove in three runs Friday night as Joliet beat the Traverse City Beach Bums 5-2 in a Frontier League season opener.Continued ...
FINAL: Joliet 5, Traverse City 2
The Traverse City Beach Bums lost their 2013 Frontier League season opener 5-2 to the Joliet Slammers on Friday night.Continued ...
UPDATE: Beach Bums, Slammers tied 1-1 in 4th
The Traverse City Beach Bums are tied with Joliet 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning of their 2013 Frontier League baseball season opener.Continued ...
Beach Bums open tonight against Joliet
Jacob Clem will get the start in tonight’s Traverse City Beach Bums opener at Joliet.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wuerfel Park power numbers on the rise
One season probably doesn't completely kill the opinion of Wuerfel Park. But after last season's surge in power numbers, the Beach Bums are doing their best to change the notion that their home park isn't friendly to hitters.Continued ...
Gusrang's move to outfield pays big dividends right away
Sean Gusrang was an infielder by trade. Until last season, that is.Continued ...
Bums' bullpen figures to be strong
If things go as expected, Beach Bums’ opponents may be hard-pressed to find success in the late stages of games.Continued ...
Vargas no laughing matter to Frontier League pitchers
You might not know it, but reigning Frontier League MVP Jose Vargas is a bit of a joker. The Traverse City Beach Bums slugger usually keeps a straight face in public.Continued ...
Nidiffer adds more than a bat to Bums' roster
Marcus Nidiffer is a coach on the field. He's also a pitcher's best friend. That's part of his job description as the catcher for the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Langbehn not yet ready to set Bums lineup
Starting rotation? Still working on it. Opening day pitcher? To be determined. Starting lineup? Pending.Continued ...
- Monday, May 6, 2013
Former Rippers find home with Beach Bums
Chris Kaminski witnessed a baseball franchise collapse last season. Which makes him all that more glad he's now with one that's been stable.Continued ...
- Friday, May 3, 2013
Skipper vows Bums will make it on merit
When Traverse City Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn met with his players this week he did not talk about goals.Continued ...
2013 Beach Bums training camp roster
2013 Beach Bums training camp roster:Continued ...
- Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Beach Bums pick pair of lefties in draft
The Traverse City Beach Bums selected two left-handed pitchers in Tuesday’s Frontier League draft.Continued ...
2013 Frontier League tryout draft
Frontier League tryout draft results:Continued ...
- Thursday, April 18, 2013
Beach Bums add outfielder, 2 more pitchers
The Beach Bums roster is nearing completion. With Wednesday's addition of outfielder Mike Mergenthaler and pitchers Johnny Omahen and Michael Kerschner, the team's roster sits at 28.Continued ...
- Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Beach Bums re-sign Burch, Sabol, add 2 more
The Beach Bums re-signed first baseman Chase Burch for the upcoming season, giving the team a formidable middle-of-the-order bat to build a lineup around.Continued ...
- Friday, March 8, 2013
Sports in Brief: 03/08/2013
Beach Bums sign pitcher Phil Brua; Mayor passes on bid idea for 2024 Olympics; St. Louis shortstop to undergo elbow surgery. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Bums could have familiar look
When the Traverse City Beach Bums take the field for their home opener May 21, the lineup could look very familiar to fans.Continued ...
Maple, birch bats returning to Frontier League
Wuerfel Park is not known as a place to go to see a ton of home runs.Continued ...
- Thursday, December 20, 2012
Still returning to Beach Bums in '13
The Traverse City Beach Bums have announced that All-Star second baseman Ryan Still is returning to the team in 2013.Continued ...
- Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Bums reflect on highs, lows
Gregg Langbehn will rejoin his crew Friday to officiate the Wisconsin Rapids-Oshkosh West high school football game. Langbehn, manager of the Traverse City Beach Bums, was hoping to miss his fourth consecutive week of football, but plans changed after Southern Illinois completed a three-game sweep of the Frontier League’s No. 1 playoff seed on Saturday night.Continued ...
- Friday, September 7, 2012
Bums face elimination
You could almost hear a pin drop in the Traverse City locker room. The silence was created when Southern Illinois’ Ken Gregory belted a solo home run on the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning Thursday to give the Miners a 5-4 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series.Continued ...
- Dunn shines, Bums win 1st game