BEVERLY - When the Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 and St. Marys Post 79 legion baseball teams squared off Wednesday at Fort Frye High School, there was an abundance of errors and minimal offense.
It was a night neither team is very proud of, but in the end, Beverly/Lowell will take it as it came away with a 4-3 victory to improve to 15-11 on the season.
"It's been our pitching and defense that have kept us in it all year," said Beverly/Lowell head coach Todd Engle. "When you're not hitting, it puts so much pressure on you defensively that now I think it's something upstairs with us. I think we're trying to be too fine in the field."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Beverly/Lowell skipper Todd Engle (blue wind breaker) confers with reliever Ben Barnas (16) and catcher Gunnar Smith (19) as starting pitcher Evan Sawyer, right, hustles to the dugout during American Legion baseball action at Fort Frye Wednesday.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
St. Marys second baseman Robbie Harper covers the base during a steal by Beverly/Lowell’s Jake Ullman. B/L won 4-3.
St. Marys fell to 9-10 with the loss.
"Beside our pitching...that was the worst game we've played all year," said St. Marys skipper Wirt Cook. "Not even close.
"Our situational hitting was horrible. You can't win games like that, especially against (Beverly/Lowell). Todd does a great job with them."
BEVERLY/LOWELL POST 389/750 4, ST. MARYS POST 79 3
At Fort Frye High School
St. Marys (9-10) 200 001 000 - 3 5 5
Beverly/Lowell (15-11) 200 110 00x - 4 4 4
WP: Evan Sawyer (4-3) 8.2IP, 11SO, 3BB
LP: Tyler Davis (1-3) 8IP, 6SO
Save: Ben Barnas .1IP
St. Marys: Ryder Bolin 1-3, Matt Houser 2-4, 1RBI, 2B, Robby Harper 1-4, 2B
Beverly/Lowell: Devin Leister 1-3, 2R, 1SB, Ethan Estes 1-3, 1R, Lance Schafer 1-3, 1RBI, 2B, Gunnar Smith 0-3, 1RBI, Jake Ullman 0-4, 1R, 1SB, Barnas 1-2, 1RBI
Next game: Beverly/Lowell vs. Cadiz Post 34 at 6 p.m.
Post 79 got started on the right track, capitalizing on two Beverly/Lowell errors in the first inning by sending two runners across the plate to take a 2-0 lead.
Post 389/750 came right back though, as a dropped flyball in right field off the bat of Gunnar Smith allowed Devin Leister and Ethan Estes to score and tie the game.
The two teams then traded zeros until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Post 389/750 took the lead for good.
Jake Ullman started the inning by reaching on an error and then stealing second base. Ullman advanced to third on Terrance Mayle's groundball to second and then scored on Barnas' sacrifice fly to right field.
Beverly/Lowell added a key insurance run in the following inning to make it 4-2. With Leister on second base, Lance Schafer crushed a Tyler Davis offering to left-center field for a double, allowing Leister to cross the plate.
That run proved to be pivotal as St. Marys struck for a run in the top of the sixth. Again it was an error that started the rally, as D.J. Burgess reached on a Beverly/Lowell miscue. Matt Houser drove him in with a one-out double to right field to cut it to a one-run game.
From there, Post 389/750 starter Evan Sawyer kept St. Marys quiet until the top of the ninth. Sawyer walked pinch hitter Andy Newhart on four pitches to start the frame, and then issued a free pass to Tony Brunicardi later in the inning with two outs. That prompted Engle to call on Barnas to record the final out, and Barnas obliged, thanks to an incredible catch by Leister in right field.
Barnas got Mitch Davis to hit a high pop fly to right, which Leister initially went back on, but had to come sprinting back in toward the infield before laying out in full extension to make the grab and prevent the tying run from scoring. It was a fitting way to end a game with nine total errors.
Sawyer struck out 11 batters in 8.2 innings of work to earn the mound victory, while Tyler Davis went eight innings and struck out six as the hard-luck loser.
"Saw pitched great for us," Engle said, "but their pitcher threw well too. He deserved a better fate. It's probably a 2-1 ballgame without the errors."
Beverly/Lowell is right back in action today at 6 p.m. when it hosts Cadiz Post 34.