Aviators Walk-off Over Beach Bums, 7-6

LOVES PARK, IL - Jeff Kremer lifted a sacrifice fly in the last of the 10th inning, scoring Ryan Breen with the winning run as the Rockford Aviators came from behind to stun the Traverse City Beach Bums 7-6 on Saturday night at Aviators Stadium.

The Aviators rallied from two multi-run deficits before finally taking the victory in extra frames. Traverse City jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the early going against Rockford starter Kyle Brueggemann. Scott Woodward reached on an error, bringing home a run in the third and then executed part of a double steal with Rob Benedict swiping home to make it 2-0. In the fourth inning, Chris Cowell laced a double to left-center, scoring Shaun Cooper to put TC on top 3-0.

Rockford took the lead in the last of the sixth, though, scoring four runs without the aid of a hit. The inning seemed harmless with a runner at first and two outs, but Beach Bum starter Tanner Tripp hit back-to-back batters on 0-2 counts to load the bases before walking Breen to force in a run. Rusty Shellhorn relieved Tripp and walked in another run before getting a groundball to third that Jovan Rosa threw away, allowing two more runs to score, giving the Aviators a 4-3 lead after six.

Rosa immediately redeemed himself in the seventh inning with a towering three-run homer to give the Bums a 6-4 lead. The blast was Rosa’s second of the year and caused Rockford manager James Frisbie to be ejected from the game for arguing that the ball was foul.

Rockford fought back once again in the eighth inning against Shellhorn, putting runners on second and third with one out. Tanner Witt brought home a run with a groundout before Kremer hit a soft liner to Yazy Arbelo that Arbelo missed the catch on, allowing the tying run to score.

Traverse City had its chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th after a leadoff Cooper double. Cooper took off for third as Drew Rossi grounded one to second base where Witt picked up the slow hopper and fired home to cut down Cooper, who attempted to score after rounding third.

That set up the theatrics for Kremer in the last of the 10th, winning the game for the Aviators. Nate O’Bryan (1-1) suffered the loss for Traverse City by giving up the winning tally. He allowed the lone run in two innings out of the bullpen for the Bums. Logan Odom (1-0) earned the win for Rockford after pitching the top of the 10th.

The Beach Bums and Aviators will finish out the three-game set at 6:05 ET on Sunday night. Patrick Merkling (0-1, 14.73) will toe the rubber for Traverse City against Rockford’s Ryan Zimmerman (0-0, 0.82). Fans can listen to the broadcast starting at 5:45 p.m. on Classic Rock the Bear 98.1/107.1 and classicrockthebear.com