Live Baseball is back in Michigan after the Traverse City Pit Spitters open the 2020 Michigan 'Pod' of the Northwoods League with 6-2 victory over the Great Lakes Resorters Wednesday night

A pair of former Saginaw Heritage HS teammates faced off against each other in the season opener with the new "Pod" format...

Posted In: Sports, ,   By: Jason Marcoux

03rd July, 2020     0

Traverse City, MI:

Live baseball is alive and well in Michigan after the Traverse City Pit Spitters opened with a 6-2 victory over the Great Lakes Resorters in the opening game of the 2020 Michigan Pod of the Northwoods League (a collegiate woodbat baseball league) season at Turtle Creek Casino Stadium in Traverse City, MI Wednesday night. 

Back on June 15, of this year, in response to the recent Coronavirus Pandemic, the Northwoods League announced a regional “pod” format with the creation of the 6-team Michigan Pod of the Northwoods League. 

The Northern division saw the addition of two new teams; the newly formed Great Lakes Resorters (an homage to Traverse City's first pro baseball team) and the Michigan Dune Bears, who join the Pit Spitters to form the 3-team Northern division, while two established Northwoods League teams, the Kalamazoo Growlers and the Battle Creek Bombers also welcomed a new team, the Kalamazoo Mac Daddies to form the 3-team Southwestern division of the Michigan Pod of the Northwoods League.

The Idea is to cut down on travel with the three teams in each city playing a 57-game regular season schedule against each other, before the Northern division and the Southwestern division champions eventually face off for a 2-game playoff series at the end of the season. 

With the game tied at 2-runs apiece, Traverse City shortstop (former Heritage HS standout) Spencer Schwellenbach (a sophomore at Nebraska) hit what looked to be a routine groundout to Great Lakes first baseman Noah Marcoux (a junior at Davenport University who was Schwellenbach's high school teammate at Heritage) however, as Marcoux charged the grounder from behind first base, the hard hit ball ricocheted off the bag and redirected into right field, allowing two runners to score for a 4-2 Traverse City lead in the bottom of the second, which would prove to be the difference. 

Great Lakes had jumped out to an early lead when center fielder Seth Halvorsen (University of Missouri) led off the game with a single to center field and promptly stole second base, then moved to third on a single off the bat of shortstop Nick Neville (Southern Illinois Universtiy) before Preston Viltz (University of Washington) drove in Halvorsen with an RBI single, while Neville eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the Resorters a 2-0 lead midway through the opening inning. 

The defending Northwoods League champion Pit Spitters wasted little time responding in the bottom half of the first after Traverse City catcher Gray Betts (Liberty University) reached on a walk and advanced to third on a double off the bat of second baseman Mario Camilletti (Central Michigan University) before Schwellenbach scored Betts on an infield groundout, while designated hitter Chris Monroe (University of Illinois Springfield) followed suit, scoring Camilletti to knot the game at 2-runs apiece in the bottom of the first inning. 

The Pit Spitters added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh when a run scored after Schwellenbach reached on an error before crossing home plate himself to round out the scoring (6-2). 

Traverse City reliever Braxton Bragg (1-0, 0.00 ERA) who is Schwellenbach's teammate at Nebraska, picked up his first win of the season after allowing no runs with 1-walk through 2-scoreless innings tonight, while Great Lakes reliever Jordan Patty (a former Midland High standout who is now pitching for Central Michigan University) was tagged with the loss for the Resorters. 

The Pit Spitters went on to drop a 4-3 decision to the Michigan Dune Bears on a walk-off walk-in at Turtle Creek Stadium on Thursday night, opening the door for the Resorters to make it a 3-way tie when Great Lakes plays host to the Dune Bears at 7 pm at Turtle Creek Casino Stadium on Friday night.


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