Baseball: ThunderBolts close season by sweeping away Traverse City Beach Bums
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media September 4, 2014 10:38PM
Updated: September 4, 2014 10:43PM
The Windy City ThunderBolts finished one of the most difficult seasons in franchise history on a positive note Thursday night.
The T-Bolts ended the year on a four-game winning streak, capping it by completing a three-game sweep of the Traverse City Beach Bums with a 4-3 win at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
“It’s definitely good for these guys to finish this way,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “Finishing the season with a sweep feels good.”
It was just the second sweep of the season for the T-Bolts (35-60), the other being the season-opening three-game set against the Frontier Greys in May.
It’s the fourth straight season the Frontier League playoffs, which begin Saturday, won’t include the T-Bolts, and the first time Windy City has finished under .500 since 2006.
Windy City, which finished with 11 hits — all singles — got going right away against Beach Bums starter Ian MacDougall, scoring in the first inning for the fourth straight night.
Andrew Brauer led off with a single, moved to second on Mike Torres’ base hit, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Max White sacrifice fly.
Pete Whittingslow, making his second start for the T-Bolts, retired the first nine Traverse City hitters before Jeff DeBlieux reached on a dropped third strike when catcher Mike McGuckin sailed the throw to first into right field.
The no-hitter continued into the fifth, but Sean Gusrang broke it up and tied the game for Traverse City (38-58) with a solo home run to left.
The T-Bolts answered right back in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases on a Ryan Soares hit by pitch, a Max White single and a Garrett Carey single.
Carey’s base hit was Windy City’s eighth, but the T-Bolts had struggled with runners in scoring position. Davidson Peguero changed that, lining a two-out, two-run single to center for a 3-1 lead.
“I saw the bases were loaded and I was just thinking we had to come up with a couple of runs,” Peguero said. “(MacDougall) came inside and I got in front of it a bit, but was able to slap it out there. Getting runs there changes the game. Winning this one leaves a positive feeling for the whole team.”
McGuckin walked and scored on a Soares single in the sixth.
Traverse City added a run on a Kevin Taylor RBI double in the seventh and made it 4-3 when Scott Woodward scored on a wild pitch in the eighth, but it was a strong outing for Whittingslow (1-1).
The lefty went 71/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on just three hits. He struck out eight and walked four.
“I wanted to come out with a lot more confidence than my last start,” Whittingslow said. “Any time you can end the season with a win, even when it’s been a tough season, it feels good.”
Reese McGraw got the final two outs for his fifth save.