Traverse City Pit Spitters primed for playoffs

·3 min read

Aug. 13—TRAVERSE CITY — After clinching a playoff spot earlier this week, the Traverse City Pit Spitters have continued to play like a team bound for the postseason.

In a game that doesn't mean much for the second-half champions, Traverse City (45-26) still came away with the 4-2 victory after pitcher Owen McWilliams IV had an outstanding outing.

In just five innings pitched, he struck out six, walked two, and allowed a run on three hits. Kokomo (36-35) didn't get their second hit until the fifth inning after starting the game with a single from right fielder Nick Harms.

Despite scoring two runs, Traverse City had a hard time getting anything going with the bats against Jackrabbits starting pitcher Evan Valencia. The righthander pitched four innings and gave up two runs and allowed three hits and three walks.

The Spitters had a thief-like presence on base with Marshall Toole who had two stolen bases to give him 27, Camden Traficante (28), Colin Summerhill (12) and Alec Atkinson (27). Traverse City had a goal to reach 200 stolen bases by the time the season ended — they accomplished that after Traficante stole a base.

"We were all excited," Trey Truitt III said. "Reeves was like, "We're at 199 guys.' It was almost like a battle like everybody wanted to hurry up and get on base. So I think it was cool that Camden got the 200."

For Traficante, he currently holds the franchise record for the most stolen bases in a single season, previously held by Jake Wilson in 2019.

"I'm just happy to be here," said Traficante, laughing.

Kokomo made things interesting in the sixth after a broken-bat single from first baseman Max Farfan that started as a single later but resulted with a run scoring and Farfan on third base after an errant throw to first base to tie the game at 2-2.

With a runner on third, Spitters' relief pitcher Blake Ignaciak (1-2, 4.86 ERA) struck out the next batter to get out of the inning.

Summerhill played a role in the sixth by putting Traverse City back in front when he extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single. He then stole second. With playoffs Sunday, he has continued to be a reliable player for the ball club.

"Well, first off, I got to thank my teammates for getting on base and showing all that support," Summerhill said. "The biggest thing for me is I stick to my routine every single time no matter what. If I strike out, get a base hit, whatever it is, I do the same thing because hitting is hard."

Spitters' third baseman Sam Tackett sent a deep shot to left field for an RBI double making score 3-2, but it didn't stop there for Traverse City. On a wild pitch with two outs, Tackett stole third and made it home in time to push the lead 4-2.

Friday's game had no impact on their playoff spot, so the Pit Spitters had some fun on the field. Atkinson — who plays first base — was the only player to have played every position, including closing out the game in the ninth.

In his outing, he only allowed a hit and struck out the last batter. After the game ended, he was given a standing ovation from roughly 4,000 Spitters fans.

"Coach asked me before the Battle Creek game and I told him that I would be down for it," Atkinson said. "I was recruited as a two-way player, and I ended up just being a hitter — but I can still pitch a little bit."

The Pit Spitters are riding a four-game win streak and close out their regular season at Turtle Creek Stadium against Kokomo with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch.

The Spitters begin their quest for another championship for Game one on Sunday against the Kalamazoo Growlers in Kalamazoo.