Scott Dunn had a more difficult time getting to Consol Energy Park than he did pitching against the Wild Things once he got there.
The team bus that was supposed to carry the Traverse City Beach Bums to Wednesday night’s game against the Washington Wild Things was in the shop undergoing repairs, leaving Dunn and the rest of his teammates to make the trip from the Red Roof Inn to the ballpark by foot Wednesday afternoon.
Once there, Dunn, a graduate of South Side Beaver High School, sent the Wild Things offense into the repair shop in a 9-0 victory, the seventh in a row for the Beach Bums and sixth straight for Dunn.
“We rode 6 1/2 hours Monday without any air conditioning,” said Dunn. “It was still in the shop getting fixed when it was time to leave. We had to hike up that gynormous hill.”
Dunn was masterful, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, no runs, one walk and five strikeouts. He thrilled the small beach Bums contingent, which was mostly made up of Dunn’s family and friends.
“I had 15 tickets for the game,” Dunn said. “I don’t know what it is, but I’ve done very well against (the Wild Things).”
Washington gets a dose of another former WPIAL pitcher tonight, when Mike Devine, a graduate of Springdale High School, takes the mound.
“We’re close in age, but never played against each other that I know of,” Dunn said.
Dunn was staked to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, a preview of the frustration that was to come for the Wild Things. Washington gave up nine runs on just six hits, made two errors and allowed seven walks and two hit batsmen.
The performance was so perplexing that a players’ meeting was held after the game.
“We dug a hole in the first inning,” said Washington manager Bart Zeller. “It was demoralizing. It’s so atypical of us to walk seven and hit two. You can’t do that on a team like this. They take advantage of your mistakes and make you pay for it.”
Traverse City scored a combined seven runs on two hits, which might be a Frontier League record if records of that sort are kept. The Beach Bums scored four times on one hit in the first inning against Washington starter Anthony Collazo.
Ryan Still led off the game with a grounder to second, which C.J. Beatty tossed wide of first base for an error. Taylor Wrenn was hit by a pitch and, one out later, Collazo walked Chase Burch and Carlo Testa, the latter bringing in the first run. Zach Kometani then cleared the bases with a double to make it 4-0.
“You don’t ever want to take a pitcher out in the first inning,” Zeller said. “You don’t want to burn your bullpen. He went 4 2/3 before he reached a pitch count (84) to make a change. He battled.”
In the eighth inning, Traverse City scored three times on one hit. Matt Howard was hit by a pitch from reliever Jordan Elliott. One out later, Still walked and Sean Gusrang sent a grounder between the legs of first baseman Stewart Ijames for an error that allowed one run to score. Jose Vargas then belted a two-run double that made it 9-0.
Washington threatened in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings but was done in by two doubleplays and a strikeout and groundout that ended the seventh inning. The Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in Washington’s lineup went 0-for-11 with one walk.
“We had our chances to score,” Zeller said. “We put the ball into play. … It’s hard to believe we outhit them (7-6) and still lost like that.”
Notes: Traverse City shortstop Taylor Wrenn was pinch-hit for in the second inning, but it didn’t end a 21-game hitting streak. In the first inning, Wrenn was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat but stayed in the game, even played the field in the bottom of the inning. Major League Baseball rules state a player must have an official at-bat that is not a sacrifice fly to end the streak. … Shawn Smith (3-1, 2.35) starts for the Wild Things tonight.