BEVERLY - After winning the District 11 American Legion baseball tournament the "hard way" the past three years, Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 will get to take a little easier route to the state tournament after drubbing St. Clairsville Post 159, 20-5, Sunday afternoon at Fort Frye High School.
Each of the past three seasons Post 389/750 has been forced to crawl out of the losers bracket after dropping their opening round contests.
"I would not recommend trying to do that to anyone," said Engle of the challenge of rising from the losers bracket. "If you can win Tuesday then somebody is going to have to beat you twice."
Early on the heavy underdog St.Clairsville team appeared to be poised to give Beverly/Lowell all it wanted and then some before some timely B/L hitting and some dismal Post 159 defense broke open a tight game.
Though playing on their home field, Post 389/750 was designated the visiting team and quickly jumped on St.Clairsville starting pitcher Grayson Loweecy for a pair of runs in the top of the first.
Former Marietta Tiger Eli Lenington led off the game with a walk and one out later moved to third on an infield single by third baseman Tyler Proctor.
District 11 Tournament Game
BEVERLY LOWELL(POST 389/750) 20 ST.CLAIRSVILLE (POST 159) 5
Beverly/Lowell 245 016 2 - 20-16-3
St. Clairsville 210 020 0 - 5-8-8
WP: Zach Eddy(6-1): 5IP, 6H, 5R, 4ER, 4BB,4K, Evan Sawyer: 2IP, 2H, BB, K.
LP: Grayson Loweecy: 3IP, 9H, 11R, 0ER, 2BB, K, Cameron Smith: 2.1 IP, 3H, 6R, 5ER, 3BB, 2K. Zuke Jacob: 1.2 IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, K.
Top Hitters: Beverly/Lowell: Clay Ullman: 3-6, 2R, 4RBI, HR, Jake Ullman: 3-6, R, 3RBI, HR, Tyler Proctor: 3-6, R,2RBI, Tim Grosel: 2-4, 3R, 2RBI, 2B, 3B, Landon Kern: 2-4, 3R, 3RBI, Wes Hatfield: 2-4, RBI, Eli Lenington: 1-4, 4R, 3RBI, 3B, Austin Campbell: 0-1, R, Ethan Estes: 0-0, R.
Top Hitters: St. Clairsville: Tyler McGary: 2-3, R, RBI, Tyler Stramma: 2-3, R, Loweecy: 2-4, 2B, Colton Pritchard: 1-3, RBI, Hunter Westlake: 1-4, R, Smith: 0-3, R, Bailey McGrath: 0-3, R.
Next Game: St.Clairsville: Today vs. Winner Zanesville vs. Cambridge. Beverly/Lowell: Tuesday, winner Zanesville vs. Cambridge.
After Landon Kern was retired, Clay Ullman reached on an error, the first of eight St.Clairsville errors on the day, to score the games first run and Ullman's brother Jake followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Beverly/Lowell last played one week ago and showed some signs of rust in the early going.
Starting pitcher Zach Eddy walked the first two St.Clairsville hitters in the last of the first before Tyler McGary lined a single to left to make it 2-1.
A single by third baseman Tyler Stramma loaded the bases and one out later Eddy issued another base on balls to Colton Pritchard to force in the second run of the inning.
Once again Beverly/Lowell used some very shoddy defense by St.Clairsville to score four times in the top of the second.
Justin Futrell and Jordan Satterfield both reached on fielding errors to begin the inning and Futrell scored from third on a fielders choice off the bat of Lenington to make it 3-2.
Tim Grosel followed with a triple to straight away center field to score a pair of runs and Proctor followed with an RBI single to make it 6-2.
Post 159 reached Eddy for an unearned run in the bottom of the second to cut the lead to 6-3.
Beverly/Lowell began to break things open in the third, scoring five times with the key hits being a Lenington two-run triple and a Clay Ullman two-run single.
Wes Hatfield's RBI single in the top of the fifth made it 12-3 and with the big lead Eddy was cruising along before getting into some fifth inning trouble of his own.
With one out McGary singled and Stramma was hit in the back by an Eddy fastball.
Loweecy followed with a single to load the bases and McGary scored on a wild pitch.
Pritchard reached on an error to make it 12-5 game, before Eddy retired Dalton Conroy and Hunter Westlake to minimize the damage.
Beverly/Lowell acted swiftly in the top of the sixth to put an end to any hopes St.Clairsville may have had for a late inning rally and it was the Ullman brothers who did the most damage.
After Beverly/Lowell loaded the bases on another St. Clairsville error and a pair of walks, Landon Kern singled to right to score a pair of runs.
Clay Ullman then drove a Cameron Smith curve ball over the left field fence for a three-run homer and a 17-5 Beverly/Lowell lead.
After St.Clairsville made another pitching change, Jake Ullman, the younger of the Ullman brothers followed suit with a long ball of his own off of Zuke Jacob.
"That's got to be the best sports moment I have ever had in my life,' said Clay Ullman of going back-to-back with his brother.
Jake was equally excited about the home runs.
The win was the 25th in a row for Beverly/Lowell and improved its season record to a rather impressive 34-4.
Tuesday night's winners bracket game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. first pitch.