ATHENS - The Athens Baseball Tournament had a crazy finish to it, but the Todd Engle-coached Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 came out on top, defeating Athens Post 21 7-6 in the championship game.
Tied up at 6-6 going into the ninth, Beverly/Lowell got a lead off double to left field from Tyler Proctor to get things started. After a Landon Kern walk, Jake Ullman doubled to left center to bring in Proctor for the deciding run.
Athens, who kept clawing back all game long, made one last comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth. Austin Howard led off with an infield single. Wes Dixon was sent in as a pinch runner for Howard, and ended up making it to third base. He tried to score on a sharp ground ball by Josh Cohen to Proctor at third, but Proctor fielded it cleanly, threw a strike to Landon Kern at home plate and preserved the lead. Ben Barnas struck out the next batter to end the game.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Beverly/Lowell Eli Lenington gets ready to take a big swing.
"I didn't have a very good game," Engle said. "The kids overcame it and won the game. That's what matters."
Belpre/Lowell got on the board first in the second inning. With Clay Ullman on second base, Wes Hatfield hit an infield single to the second baseman, who made a wild throw that got away from the first baseman and allowed Ullman to score.
Athens struck back in the third. After Tyler Lutz hit a one out single, J.D. Chesser hit a double down the left field line to plate Lutz. Howard then double to left center to bring in Chesser, giver the Gunners a 2-1 lead.
Beverly/Lowell took the lead right back in the fourth. Eli Lenington reached on error to start the rally, and advanced to second on Ethan Estes' bloop single to right field. Proctor then doubled down the left field line to score Lenington. After a walk to Kern loaded the bases, Clay Ullman grounded out to second to bring in Estes and give Engle's squad a 3-2 lead.
Athens tied it up in the sixth. After Tanner Wood doubled to center field, Cohen singled to drive him in.
Beverly/Lowell regained the lead in the seventh. Tim Grosel led off with a double to left field, and Lenington would later single him in. With the game on the line, Casey Grimm singled up the middle with one out to start a rally for Athens. Grimm would end up coming all the way around to score on a wild pitch to send the game in extra innings.
Kern led off the eighth with a double, and Jake Ullman and Grosel followed with walks. Pinch hitter Nick Spurr hit a grounder between third and short to bring Ullman and Grosel and give Beverly/Lowell a two run cushion.
Athens would again claw back. After a lead off single from Cohen and walk from Lutz, Chesser hit a two out, two run double to tie the game at 6-6.
Although Beverly/Lowell would finally seal the deal in the ninth, there was no denying Athens' resiliency.
"That's to their credit," Engle said. "They're well coached, and they didn't quit. We needed to be pushed like that."
Ben Barnas pitched two innings and struck out three batters to earn the victory, while Grimm pitched 3.1 innings of relief in the loss.
The championship game was the first contest of the tournament for Beverly/Lowell that was not decided by eight or more runs.
On Friday, Beverly/Lowell opened up against Athens Juniors with a 10-0 victory. Proctor led the way offensively in the contest by collecting three hits, including a home run. Kern had three runs batted in, while Clay Ullman had two hits and scored two runs.
On the mound Kordell Antill and Dustin Duffy combined for a perfect game. Antill pitched three perfect innings, while Duffy pitched two innings without allowing a base runner.
Later that day, Engle's club triumphed over Bridgeport 17-1. Every Beverly/Lowell starter had a base hit. Clay Ullman had a monster game with four hits and five runs knocked in. Lenington and Proctor each had two hits and three runs scored. Kern and Estes each scored three runs, and Grosel had two hits and four runs driven in.
The game lasted only four innings, three of which were pitched by Evan Sawyer, who earned the victory while striking out three and walking one.
Hunter Mann had the only two hits for Bridgeport and also scored its only run.
"We've got a lot of kids gaining confidence," Engle said after the win. "We're really starting to swing the bats."
It was another clean sweep for Beverly/Lowell on Saturday, as they defeated Troy Seniors 13-3, and Troy Juniors 11-1, both mercies. The wins set up Engle's team to play on Sunday for a chance to play in the championship game.
The play-in game was Sunday morning against Troy Seniors, which Beverly/Lowell won 8-1. B/L scored all eight of their runs in the second, third, and fourth innings. Troy prevented the shutout in the sixth. With Michael Fellers on second, D.J. Hemm hit a single to right field to drive in Fellers and make the score 8-1.
Antill pitched a complete game, striking out eight and walking just one. Alex Smith pitched 5.1 innings and walked six batters en route to earning the loss. It was the first game of the tourney that Beverly/Lowell didn't win by double digits.
Although Engle would have liked to have seen it end earlier, he was proud of the way his team kept fighting in the championship.
"Games like this are character builders," Engle said. "It will help us in the long term. It's a good thing to learn from."
Beverly/Lowell will return home to take on Bridgeport in a double header on Tuesday. With a 6-0 record in Athens, B/L is now 29-4 overall.
At Ralph Dalton Field
B/L 10, Athens Juniors 0
B/L............600 13 - 10 12 0
Athens Jr...000 00 - 0 0 2
WP: Antill 3 IP
Duffy 2 IP
Beverly/Lowell hitters: Proctor 3-3, 2 runs, HR; Kern 1-3, 1 run, 2 RBI; Clay Ullman 2-3, 2 runs
B/L 17, Bridgeport 1
B/L...... 526 4 - 17 16 1
Bridge..000 1 - 1 2 3
WP: Sawyer 3 IP, 3 SO, 1 BB
Lenington 1 IP
LP: McCloy 2.2 IP, 3 SO, 2 BB
Dodrill .2 IP
Ratliff .2 IP
B/L hitters: Lenington 2-3, 3 runs, 1 RBI; Estes 1-2, 3 runs, 1 RBI; Proctor 2-4, 3 runs, 3 RBI; Kern 1-2, 3 runs, 2 RBI; Clay Ullman 4-4, 2 runs, 5 RBI; Jake Ullman 1-2; Grosel 2-3, 4 RBI; Spurr 1-4, 1 run; Satterfield 1-2, 2 runs; Wes Hatfield 1-1
Bridgeport hitters: Mann 2-2, 1 run; Hineman 0-1, 1 RBI
B/L 13, Troy Sr. 3
B/L 11, Troy Jr. 1
B/L 8, Troy Sr. 1
Troy..000 001 0 - 1 4 3
B/L....021 500 x - 8 10 1
WP: Antill 7 IP, 8 SO, 1 BB
LP: Smith 5.1 IP. 6 BB
Veldman .2 IP, 1 SO
B/L hitters: Estes 4-4, 3 runs; Proctor 1-3, 1 run; Kern 1-4, 1 run, 3 RBI; Clay Ullman 2-3, 3 RBI; Jake Ullman 0-2, 1 run; Grosel 0-2, 2 runs; Hatfield 1-2, 1 RBI; Satterfield 1-2, 1 run
Troy hitter: Fellers 1-3, 1 run; Antonides 1-3; Nesliegh 1-2; Hemm 1-3, 1 RBI
Game 6 (Championship)
Beverly/Lowell 7, Athens 6
B/L.......010 200 121 - 7 12 1
Athens..002 001 120 - 6 12 5
WP: Barnas 2 IP, 3 SO
Eddy 2.2 IP, 3 SO, 1 BB
Clay Ullman 3 IP, 2 SO
Sawyer 1.1 IP, 3 SO
LP: Grimm 5.2 IP, 4 SO, 2 BB
Ford 3.1 IP, 2 SO, 3 BB
B/L hitters: Lenington 2-6, 1 run, 1 RBI; Estes 1-6, 1 run: Proctor 3-6, 1 run, 1 RBI; Kern 1-3; Clay Ullman 0-4, 1 run, 1 RBI; Jake Ullman 2-4, 1 run; Grosel 1-2, 2 runs; Hatfield 1-4; Satterfield 1-3; Spurr 1-1, 2 RBI
Athens hitters: Grimm 1-4, 1 run; Chesser 3-5, 1 run, 3 RBI; Howard 2-4, 1 RBI; Wood 1-2, 1 run; Losey 1-4; Lutz 1-3, 2 runs; Cohen 3-4, 1 run, 1 RBI
Next game: Beverly/Lowell vs. Bridgeport Tuesday @ Belpre