The day started out with another drive through the farmlands of Michigan. For the majority of this the land was flat but toward the end there were some hills. They weren't really hills like I grew up with in Kentucky, but there was definitely a little bit of change in elevation.
Traverse City is on a spur of Lake Michigan (not sure of the proper term: finger? bay?) and it is obviously a big tourist town. The beaches were full. The harbor was filled with all sorts of boats for sailing and various fun activities. Lots and lots of water out there. The town had a big fair set up which looked at least semi-permanent and besides that it was filled with the kind of quaint little shops meant to separate tourists from their cash. Gotta say, if it wasn't 12 hours away I'd probably be recommending it to lots of people back home.
The game itself was a defensive struggle. As I do the math, before the game the Miners were .5 games ahead of the Beach Bums in the Frontier League East so both teams had a little something to play for. At the end of 9, the score was 0-0.
The game went into the 11th tied and a unique Frontier League rule came into play. Starting in the 11th, the last person put out in the inning before is put on second base at the beginning of the inning. Gotta say, I'm not really a fan of this. I'd rather they adopted the Japanese rule of allowing a tie after 12 innings (but nobody asked me). Anyway, in the 11th both teams played it the same way. The first batter sacrifice bunted, moving the runner to third. The defensive team then walked the next batter to set up the double play. Then the defensive teams got the side out. In the twelfth inning the Miners just sent their batters to the plate swinging. A double scored the man from second and they managed to move that guy across the plate as well for a 2 run lead heading into the bottom of the inning. The Bums managed to get their guy from second home and had a guy on first, but it looked like the safety run which the Miners had put on the board was going to hold. Then, with two outs, the Bums batter hit a long ball to right field. The Miners' outfielder raced to the wall and leapt . . . and the ball went six inches over his outstretched glove for a home run.
It was the second best ending to a game I've ever seen (best was a stolen home base with two outs in the 9th by the K-Mets). I still don't like putting the guy on second base though. It feels very little leagueish.
Traverse City Beach Bums 3 - South Illinois Miners 2 (and the Bums move into first place by .5 games)
Today I travel to Grand Rapids to watch the West Michigan White Caps.