TRAVERSE CITY — Scott Mueller wants to make everyone forget his last inning.
He hopes he has a shot at that next season.
The Traverse City Beach Bums closer -- who gave up the winning runs in a 3-1 season-ending loss to Lake Erie that cost the team a playoff spot -- said he's already told management he wants to come back and pitch next year.
"I told our manager and Jason (Wuerfel) that I want to come back and win a ring," Mueller said. "I'm not happy the way we finished up. I take a lot of blame for it because I gave up those runs after a good year. It seems like that whole year did not matter except that last inning I threw. That's going to leave a bitter taste in my mouth and I want to come back.
"I love this place. I told our managers that I think it's one of the best, if not the best staff and organization to play for. I told them I want to keep playing. I feel like I have a couple more years left."
Mueller, the Beach Bums career saves leader with 35 over the last two seasons, helped lock down a lot of the team's wins as they came up just one win short of the postseason.
"That last homestand when we had the six-game win streak, that was huge for us," Mueller said. "That was fun. We were winning. Everybody was having fun. We were getting along. It was a good time."
Mueller finished with 21 saves and an ERA of 1.31. Perhaps even more impressive was a WHIP of 1.00, as he surrendered only 41 hits and 14 walks in 55 innings pitched, striking out 53.
But even with those numbers, it's the memory of giving up a pair of 10th-inning runs to the Crushers that bothers him.
"It was really frustrating, especially after last year when you make it all the way to the championship and you come back this year and don't even make the playoffs," Mueller said.
In the meantime, Mueller's off-season plans are to help his father coach the basketball team at Greenway High School in Phoenix and substitute teach.
The Beach Bums will have some decisions to make if the eligibility rules stay the same. Outfielder J.T. Hall turned 27 during the season, and outfielders Zack Pace and Matt Brown, starting pitcher David Nathanson and reliever Scott Reid all will be 27 by the start of the next campaign.
The Frontier League allows teams to keep only one player over the age of 27, and that player has to have been with the team for two seasons. Pace was acquired him in the dispersal draft when the Oakland County Cruisers went dark and he was supposed to revert back to being Oakland's property after this season, but that may not be the case.
"To tell you the truth, I don't think Oakland is even going to have a team," Pace said. "I've talked to people over there, and they haven't seen anything being done with the stadium. I'd have to say I'm 99 percent sure there's not going to be a team."
Each of those other 27-year-olds have worked their way into the Beach Bums record books.
– Nathanson moved into a tie with Tony Casoli and Ryan Gehring for the franchise lead in complete games with seven.
– Hall has the single-season home run record (22).
– If the Frontier League kept such stats, Reid would likely be among the TC leaders in holds.
– Brown is second in the team's history in career triples with seven and third in steals with 46.
"If J.T. comes back, then it'll be a tough shot for me to come back," Pace said.
But the league's eligibility rules seems to change every year, so you never know.
"I had a good time," Pace said. "I'm disappointed we didn't make the playoffs. But I had a great time. I look forward to being back in the playoffs next year. Coming down to the last day, I didn't think there was any way in hell we weren't going to make it."
Pace said he's going to spend the off-season working on his Master's degree in kinesiology at Sonoma State, substitute teach, work at a catering company and help coach again at his alma mater.
His goal after his playing days are over is to move into coaching.
"That's why I want to play as long as I can," Pace said. "I'd rather play the rest of my life, but there's not a high chance I'd make a lot of money doing that, so I thought I'd go the coaching route."
And the longer he can keep playing, the more he can glean from coaches such as manager Gregg Langbehn and hitting coach Shannon Hunt.
"(Coach Hunt) has a lot of different things going on," Pace said. "If you get him going, he'll talk for hours. He sort of has the same spiel he uses to break it down to each hitter. There's so much that you can't digest it all. So I like to listen to what he says to the next hitter."