TRAVERSE CITY — By JAMES COOK
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.
"I thought I hit it out, but it's a pretty big field, so I started running right away," Gregory said.
Game 3 is Saturday in Marian, Ill. Game 4 would be Sunday, if the Beach Bums can extend the series.
"We don't have a choice," Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn said. "We've got to win three in a row. We've done that before this year."
After the Beach Bums took a 4-0 five innings into the contest, TC escaped the Miners' half of the eighth with the game tied, as Matt Miller fielded Carlos Mendez's come-backer and threw home to Marcus Nidiffer, who ran Ken Gregory nearly back to third before tagging him and then also tagged pinch runner Will Block, who tried to sneak in an extra base during the play.
"That was kind of strange," Miners manager Mike Pinto said. "I'll leave it at that."
"Pretty unusual," Langbehn said. "It's a tough situation to be in — as far as being a base runner — and it just went kind of haywire for them. Give Miller and Nidiffer and everybody on the infield credit. You could hear them talking and communicating."
Scott Mueller had started the eighth, hitting Javier Herrera with a pitch and walking Gregory before being lifted for Miller. Herrera came in on Cory Harrilchak's infield single to tie the game.
Traverse City had 1-2-3 innings in the ninth and 10th.
"We've got to play better, that's all," Langbehn said. "We didn't play well enough to win."
TC's Jacob Clem cruised through five innings.
"He was keeping the ball down," Pinto said. "He's a good pitcher, there's no doubt about that. Our guys started seeing the ball up a bit, and the turn around was when Ramirez hit the triple. It seemed to excite the dugout a little bit, and then we got another hit and another hit. Next thing you know, you're back in the ballgame."
Scott Dunn came on to close out the sixth when Southern Illinois finally got to Clem, who allowed four straight hits to start the frame, ending up in three runs. Dunn got a fly out and a strikeout to prevent more damage.
"That gave us a new energy and new life in the dugout," Pinto said.
With two runners on, Nick Capito came on and got Jake Kaase to pop up on the first pitch to end the seventh-inning threat.
Clem departed after 5.1 innings, giving up six hits, no walks and fanning two.
"He was extremely efficient through five," Langbehn said. "His pitch count was low. Thirteen of 15 outs were ground balls, just like he did all year. Then he left some pitches up. But he's been a workhorse for us all year. I've got to give them credit, too. They had some pitches up and they didn't miss them. But overall I thought he did awesome."
It wasn't until the fifth inning that the Miners were able to get under a Clem pitch enough to even fly out to the outfield. Both hits through five were singles through the infield.
Daniel Calhoun went five innings, allowing seven hits, four runs, two walks and striking out seven.
Ryan Still led off the game with a full-count single up the middle, followed by a single through the infield's right side. Jose Vargas followed with a ground-rule double that brought in Still, while Brian Heere came across on Chase Burch's fielder's choice and Jeff Flagg singled to left to plate Vargas for a 3-0 lead.
Burch blasted a shot over the left-field wall for a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning.
"We really felt up against the ropes for a lot of that game," Pinto said. "They went ahead four and you've got a long battle ahead and hope you can just peck away at it."
After Burch's homer, the Bums would get only four more base runners, one of those on a hit batsman.
"As an offense, we kind of stalled," Flagg said. "We didn't keep pressing and add on (to the lead). We came out hot, and we need to figure out how to keep that going throughout the game."
Down 0-2, the Beach Bums now face the task of having to win three straight in order to advance to play for the Frontier Cup for the second time in three years.
"It's tough to play here to begin with," Pinto said. "They're such a good team at home. And you know you've got your work cutout for you. Really, you go into a series like this and you say, 'Hey, if we can split and get one and go home, we have a chance there.' To come here and take two is a huge thing for the team."
"There nothing else we can ask for, coming out of this up 2-0," Gregory said. "Hopefully we can go home and wrap it up."
TRAVERSE CITY — By JAMES COOK
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
- Dunn shines, Bums win 1st game