Rhodes Delivers Independence Day Walk-off

TRAVERSE CITY, MI - Jake Rhodes smashed a two-out double off the right field wall, scoring Kevin Taylor in the last of the 11th as the Traverse City Beach Bums walked off with a 2-1 win over the Windy City ThunderBolts in front of 7,474 fans on Independence Day at Wuerfel Park. David April photograph

Jovan Rosa led off the 11th inning by reaching on a throwing error by the shortstop Mike Torres, sliding underneath the tag at first base on a close play. Taylor came on to pinch-run and was sacrificed to second base. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Jake Rhodes blistered an 0-1 pitch from Victor Larez to give Traverse City its first walk-off of the year.

The largest crowd of the year was treated to a phenomenal pitchers duel between Casey Delgado of the Beach Bums and Jake Fisher of the ThunderBolts. Neither pitcher blinked in the first five innings, keeping the game scoreless until the sixth. Jeff DeBlieux changed that in the sixth with a solo homer, his second in as many nights and fourth of the season, to give Traverse City a 1-0 lead.

Delgado worked into a bases loaded jam with one out in the seventh, but got out of it with a strikeout and a groundout to finish seven strong innings. He finished with a no decision despite recording seven shutout innings, allowing five hits with four strikeouts. Fisher matched him pitch-for-pitch, allowing a run on five hits in seven frames with 11 strikeouts.

Windy City tied the game in a peculiar way in the top of the ninth. D.J. Johnson struck out Andrew Brauer to lead off the ninth inning, but the third strike got away, allowing Brauer to reach on a wild pitch. Brauer then promptly stole second and third before scampering home on a passed ball to knot the game at one.

The game stayed that way until the last of the 11th when Rhodes double won the game for the Beach Bums.

Chuck Ghysels (1-2) got the win for the Beach Bums by tossing scoreless tenth and eleventh innings with three strikeouts. Larez (2-2) was dealt the loss for the ThunderBolts, allowing an unearned run in one inning.

The Beach Bums will look to make it back-to-back victories on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Ian MacDougall (1-2, 4.59) starts for Traverse City. Windy City has yet to name a starting pitcher. Fans will be able to enjoy a special Saturday edition of postgame fireworks. Those unable to make the game can listen to the broadcast starting at 6:45 p.m. on Classic Rock the Bear 98.1/107.1 and classicrockthebear.com.

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