BEVERLY - Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750's team members and coaches are probably still scratching their collective heads - and wondering why.
How does a squad do so well during the regular season, like win 27 straight games, only to go two-and-out in the American Legion baseball state tournament in Lancaster?
It's an excellent question with really no definitive answer to it, except that's baseball, and anything is possible on the diamond.
Beverly/Lowell lefty Evan Sawyer pitched a fine game in the state tournament opener in Lancaster but had no run support as his team was blanked 2-0 by Wayne County. He is expected to return and play American Legion baseball next summer.
Beverly/Lowell has won four consecutive District 11 championships, but gone 1-8 at the main event. It's almost enough to make grown boys cry. In some cases, it did.
"It's tough," said Post 389/750 skipper Todd Engle after his team was defeated 8-5 in 10 innings by Mt. Vernon Post 136 in an elimination game at Lancaster High Tuesday. On Monday, opening day of the tournament, B/L was blanked 2-0 by Wayne County Post 68/147/282.
"It got pretty emotional," Engle continued. "We've got five quality kids who aren't coming back next year."
Reason why is position players' Landon Kern, Tim Grosel, Clay Ullman, Tyler Proctor and Wes Hatfield will have used up their eligibility as American Legion baseball players.
This is not to say that their baseball playing days will be entirely over. Of the five, Ullman, Proctor and Hatfield are expected to play collegiately for Bobby Crawford at Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., while Kern will be doing the same for Brian Brewer-coached and two-time national champion Marietta College.
Only Grosel, who individually capped his career on a high note with a two-run homer against Mt. Vernon, won't be competing on the diamond as he'll be attending The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Engle and his staff will have some big shoes to fill at catcher, third base, center field, right field and designated hitter.
Everybody else, though, on Beverly/Lowell is expected to return, including starters' Eli Lenington (1b), Jordan Satterfield (2b), Jake Ullman (ss), and Ethan Estes (lf).
B/L's top four pitchers - Zach Eddy, Kordell Antill, Ben Barnas and Evan Sawyer - will also be eligible to play American Legion baseball next summer - and that's a big plus.Post 389/750's 2012 roster also included Dustin Duffey, Gunnar Smith, Austin Campbell, Justin Futrell and Nick Spurr.
"Hopefully, we'll reload and make it back (to state) next year," Engle said.
Jordan Holland contributed to this story.