Stars Shine On The 4th In 2-0 Bums Win
TRAVERSE CITY, MI— JT Hall blasted a tie-breaking two-run home run, and the pitching staff made it stand on an emotional fourth of July evening to help the Traverse City Beach Bums beat the Florence Freedom in front of 6,278 fans at Wuerfel Park by a score of 2-0. Pete Walters photograph of JT Hall.
Prior to the ballgame, an emotional “Welcome Home” celebration honored U.S. Veterans led by Beach Bums Managing Member and President John Wuerfel. “A lot of people look up to sports stars and rock stars as their heroes,” said Wuerfel. “The true heroes are the Veterans, the Military, and the kids that go away and fight for our freedom. We can’t thank them enough.”
As for the game, an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel took place at Wuerfel Park. Beach Bums starting pitcher Bryan Banes and Freedom starter Chris Ingoglia battled back-and-forth all night, keeping the game scoreless into the seventh inning. Beach Bums All-Star right fielder Matt Brown made a highlight-reel catch to end the first inning on a foul fly ball to right field, that sent him flipping over the bullpen barrier to retire Freedom designated hitter Stephen Shults.
In the seventh, Chase Burch opened the inning with a broken-bat leadoff single to give Traverse City a leadoff base runner. Hall then followed with a towering home run to right-center field, his twelfth of the season, to give the Beach Bums the first runs of the ballgame, and all the offense they needed to take a 2-0 lead.
Florence would threaten in the eighth inning when the Freedom put their first two hitters on base with singles. Banes then gave way to reliever Scott Dunn, who got out of the jam thanks in-part to a double play on a line-drive from Freedom third baseman Chris Curley to end the threat.
The Beach Bums got another stellar pitching performance from Banes (6-0), who threw seven scoreless innings in picking up his sixth win on the season. The win tied the All-Star for the most wins in the Frontier League. “Banes pounded the strike zone and mixed in his changeup,” said Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn. “Hopefully, this will propel us with a bit more consistency with the pitching we’ve had this year.”
Freedom starting pitcher Ingoglia (4-3) allowed just two runs on the Hall homer in 7.2 innings in suffering his third loss of the year. Beach Bums All-Star reliever Scott Mueller came into pitch a perfect ninth inning and grab his tenth save of the season. The Beach Bums improve to 20-22 with the win, while Florence falls to 22-19 with the loss.
The Beach Bums head to Evansville, Indiana, to open up a three-game series against the Evansville Otters on Tuesday night at 7:35 p.m. Right hander Don Pugliese gets the start for the Beach Bums. Be sure to catch all the action beginning with the Budweiser Pregame Show starting at 7:15 p.m. on Sunny Country 101.9 FM and streaming online through this website.