BEVERLY - Beverly Lowell Post 389/750 will carry a seven game winning streak and a whole lot of momentum into the 22nd Annual Lancaster Post 11 Baseball Classic beginning today at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
Fresh off of a pair of double header sweeps over the weekend against Steubenville and Athens, head coach Todd Engle has his club a season's best four games over the .500 mark (15-11) heading into the tournament.
Beverly Lowell has been winning games in every way imaginable of late as evidenced by Saturday's 16-15 win in a slug fest over Steubenville as well as Sundays twin bill sweep in which they allowed Athens only three runs in the two games combined.
MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times
Beverly/Lowell’s Kyler Dennis throws a pitch during an American Legion baseball game at Fort Frye High School earlier this season.
"All in all I'm extremely pleased with these kids and the way they are coming together right now," said Engle after Sunday's wins. "They haven't been the prettiest wins at times but we are certainly not going to give them back."
BevLow is guaranteed at least five games in the Lancaster tournament, beginning with today's opening match up against Chillicothe Post 757 slated for a 12 noon first pitch.
While it took a little while for this year's team to establish an identity, they now appear to be a team made up of solid pitch, excellent defense and the ability to come up with the big hit with runners in scoring position.
Leading the offense have been former Warren Warrior Ethan Estes and Fort Frye High School's Derek Layton, who typically bat second and fourth in the B/L lineup.
Estes collected six hits in Sunday's double header including three doubles and a triple, while Layton continued to excel with runners in scoring position by adding an RBI single in both games.
Shortstop Jake Ullman has been leading off for Engle's squad with center fielder Lance Schafer in the three hole.
Gunnar Smith and Phillip Hoffman provide some middle of the lineup offense for Beverly/Lowell while the likes of Trent Bradford, Isaac Huffman, Bryce Gandee, Austin Hefter, Devin Leister, Joel Estes and Tate Engle have all been getting plenty of at bats of late.
While Post 389/750 has not had that one true ace this summer, they have been getting solid starting pitching from a deep group of arms consisting of Blake Kidder, Dennis, Hoffman, Ben Barnas, Justin Hill, and Caleb Heller among others.
Kidder and Dennis were each solid in Sunday's win's while Hoffman fanned eight in seven innings on Friday night against Zanesville to grab a win of his own.
B/L will take on the likes of Prospect Post 368, Mason County 23, Blissfield Post 325, Lancaster Post 11 i n addition to Chillicothe and Engle looks at the tourney as a real test for the upcoming district tournament which is a little more than two weeks away.
"We've got a real tough stretch ahead of us this week,' said Engle. "It's a real nice facility to play on and we look forward to going over there and gettting some wins."
The winners and runner ups in the two divisions of the 10-team tourney will square off Sunday with the winners of those two games facing each other later in the afternoon for the championship.