LANCASTER - The impressive run by Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 came to an end Tuesday as it was defeated 8-5 by Mt. Vernon Post 136 in a 10-inning affair at Lancaster High School.
After posting a 36-4 record in the regular season and winning the District 11 championship, the club was unable to get a win at the state tournament.
"We just didn't execute," head coach Todd Engle said. "Ultimately that's my responsibility."
Beverly/Lowell’s Tim Grosel, center, returns to the dugout with his teammates after slugging a home run against Mt. Vernon in a state tournament game Tuesday.
Tied at five in the bottom of the ninth, Beverly/Lowell first baseman Eli Lenington led off with a sharp grounder that went under the shortstop's glove and all the way to the fence. Lenington made it all the way to third.
After Mt. Vernon starter Nicholas Hoar got a strikeout, catcher Landon Kern was intentionally walked. Clay Ullman followed with a sharp line drive right at the right fielder that was caught, and Kern was doubled off at first to end the inning and deflate the Beverly/Lowell fans, which again showed great support.
That play proved to be a huge momentum shifter, as Mt. Vernon rallied for a three run tenth, two coming on a bases-loaded double by Kory Shackle.
Mt. Vernon 8,
At Lancaster High School
Mt. Vernon 004 000 010 3 - 8 10 3
Beverly/Lowell 401 000 000 0 - 5 9 5
WP: Hoar 9 IP, 8 SO
S: Shackle 1 IP, 2 BB
LP: Antill 10 IP
Mt. Vernon hitting: Tyler Berger 1-4, 1 run; Sellers 2-4, 2 runs; Shackle 2-5, 1 run, 3 RBI; Cunningham 1-5, 1 run; Swanson 2-5, 1 run; Alex Arck 1-3, 1 run; Shawn Maxwell 1-3, 1 run
Beverly/Lowell hitting: J. Ullman 2-5, 1 run; Lenington 1-5, 1 run; Proctor 1-4; Kern 2-2, 2 runs, 3 RBI, HR; Grosel 1-3, 1 run, 2 RBI, HR; Jordan Satterfield 1-3; Austin Campbell 1-2
Post 389/750 jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Jake Ullman led off with a single to left field, followed by a double off the left field fence by Lenington. Later in the inning, Kern drove both runners in with a double, and center fielder Tim Grosel launched a homerun to left field. It looked as though the Beverly/Lowell bats were back after getting shut out a day earlier, but Hoar settled down, pitching nine innings and striking out eight.
A solo homer by Kern to right field would be the only other run Engle's squad could muster. Starting pitcher Kordell Antill pitched a 10 inning complete game, but suffered his first loss of the season (11-1).
"He's been a work horse all year," Engle said. "I could go on and on about him. He didn't have his best stuff today, but he kept us in it. Our entire pitching staff is coming back next year. He should be a work horse again next year."
Post 136 tied the game in the fourth. Jeff Cunningham singled in a run, and after a wild pitch scored a run, Jayben Martin hit a two run single to knot things up. After the Kern homer, Mitchell Sellers scored on a groundout to tie things again until the tenth.
Shackle came on to pitch a scoreless tenth to get the save. Beverly/Lowell, who committed an uncharacteristic five errors, ends the season with a 36-6 record, while the John King-led Mt. Vernon squad moves on in the tournament.
Several of the Beverly/Lowell players took the loss very hard.
"It's tough," Engle said. "It got pretty emotional. We've got five quality kids who aren't coming back next year (Kern, Grosel, Clay Ullman, Tyler Proctor, and Wes Hatfield). Hopefully we'll reload and make it back (to state) next year."