Atkinson walks it off in the 9th as Traverse City Pit Spitters win 4-3 over Rockford Rivets

·4 min read

Aug. 5—TRAVERSE CITY — Turtle Creek Stadium was packed to see the boys of summer return from a four-game road trip, and the Traverse City Pit Spitters didn't disappoint with a 4-3 walk-off win over Rockford.

The Pit Spitters snapped one winning streak and extended another at the same time on Thursday. Their home dominance extends to six straight after a walk-off single with two outs from Alec Atkinson in the ninth to take care of the red-hot Rivets (33-30) — who were riding a seven-game winning streak.

"We've answered a goal to get a walk-off at home," Atkinson said. "I was thinking about all the times we've come close, and I just wanted to come through for the guys to be able to achieve that goal."

Trey Truitt III got a two-out double to help set up Atkinson. Truitt mentioned how thrilled he was to see his teammate come through for the team, after playing extras on Wednesday against Green Bay.

"It's nice just playing for coaches that kind of trust you and your stuff," said Truitt on being a pinch batter later in the game. "I think that was a big thing, and it was fun because I was able to keep the pitchers going into the game with it being such a close game."

The Rivets, in the ninth, had a chance to take the lead with the go-ahead run on second with just one out, but pitcher Mitch White (3-3, 1.99 ERA) struck out two in a row to end the inning making it all they could do.

"Anytime you break streaks, you're going to love that. I would say tomorrow is crucial to solidify us in the playoffs," Atkinson said.

The win didn't come easy. The score was 3-3 from the fifth inning on until the walk-off. The Rivets mustered a few runs to tie it 3-3.

Rockford stayed with the Spitters all game despite Traverse City striking first with an early 3-0 lead. But the Rivets were held to just two hits through the first seven innings.

A couple of Pit Spitters mentioned the opposing pitchers made it difficult because Rockford has a new set of pitchers that many of the players were unfamiliar with.

Rockford pitcher Miguel Reyes Jr. pitched four innings on 78 pitches, allowed two hits, four walks, and struck out seven. When Reyes was pulled, the relievers made it hard for the Traverse City batters, but they made the most out of every opportunity.

Camden Traficante made his presence known on base with a steal — his 25th on the season. He added to the Spitters' most runs in a single season, making it 3-0 in the third — after making his way to third on a wild pitch. Traficante sits at 52 total runs.

"I'm just thankful for the guys that are the ones that score me, so I got to give them props," said Traficante on the runs-scored record.

Rockford got the best of pitcher Nate Blaine in the fourth with a pair of RBI doubles from right fielder Conner Allen and second baseman Nick Demarco, making it 3-2. The following inning Blaine was pulled, but right fielder Colton Klein tied it up 3-3.

Blaine would finish with four innings pitched after giving up two runs. He allowed six hits, struck out three, and walked two. Rockford had eight hits — the most hits in the game — but the fielding and relievers made it impossible to score.

Pitchers Joe Horoszko, Easton Johnson and White all had an inning or more on the mound. While Horoszko gave up the tying run, he and everyone else made it difficult for the Rivets to find a rhythm in the batter's box.

In the seventh, with one out, the Rivets had left fielder Andrew Wilhite on second, but Colton Klein put the ball in play for a groundout to end the inning. Rockford had the go-ahead runner on second in the ninth, but White struck out two straight.

The Pit Spitters haven't had any luck getting a walk-off at Turtle Creek this season, but to do it against the Rivets and in front of a packed Turtle Creek has the players feeling good heading into the last season series with the Rivets on Friday.

The Spitters look to extend their home win streak to six games on Friday at 7:05 p.m. After Wednesday's go-ahead against Green Bay Rockers (24-38) and Thursday's walk-off win, Truitt is happy for the Pit Spitters and Atkinson to have his night of fame.