Bradford, Bev/Low slip past Post 64, 5-1
CAMBRIDGE — When a pitcher comes into a baseball game sporting an earned run average of less than a run there is only one way he can lower it that ERA and that is to allow zero earned runs.
Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 lefty Tyler Bradford managed to do exactly that as he allowed just one unearned run in a complete game five-hitter to lead his team to a 5-1 win over Marietta Post 64 Sunday in a winners bracket contest in the District 11, Region 8 tournament at Don Coss Field in Cambridge.
Bradford walked one and struck out eight as Post 389/750 advanced to Tuesday’s championship game by downing their Washington County rivals in a much anticipated contest in front a large contingent of local fans who made the 45-minute trip to Cambridge.
“I was able to get ahead in the count and was able to get my curveball over to keep them off balance,” said Bradford, who entered the game with a minuscule 0.50 earned run average on the summer. “I had a great defense behind me and I can’t do it without my team.”
Beverly/Lowell got on the board first as they scored an unearned run in the opening inning off of Post 64 starter and losing pitcher Turner Hill.
Post 389/750 leadoff man Tate Engle reached base on a fielding error, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error before Bradford helped himself by lining a single into right center field to plate the first run of the game.
The game settled into quite a pitchers duel between Bradford and Hill, who just happen to be cousins, until Beverly/Lowell scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning.
The inning starter great for Hill as he fanned both Logan Isner and Jake Davis, but then issued his only base-on–balls of the game to second baseman Trace Schafer to extend the inning.
Former Meadwbrook Colt Dave Scharenberg then jumped all over a Hill pitch and drove it over the 315-foot sign in left field for a two-run homer to give his club a 3-0 lead.
“It was a three and one count and coach (third-base coach Tyler Engle) gave me a run and hit sign. I think he believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes,” said Scharenberg. “He (Hill) kind of threw a meat pitch right down the middle and I happened to put it straight on the bat and it flew over the fence.”
Scharenberg knew he had hit the ball well but wasn’t sure he got enough of it to get it over the left field fence.
“I figured it would drop in front of the fence or hit off the fence I had no idea it was going to go out,” said the Post 389/750 left fielder. “I was hustling around first and heading to second when I saw it bounce on the road.”
B/L added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to give their ace even more breathing room to work with.
Drew Huffman singled with one out in the fifth inning and one out later came into score on a two-out RBI single by Derek Layton.
One inning later it would be Huffman delivering with two outs as he singled in Luke Nelson with the fifth run of the game.
Bradford, who struck out six hitters in the first five frames, only fanned a pair the rest of the way but the southpaw got stronger and stronger as he retired the final 12 batters in the game in order.
“I just get more excited and my heart gets beating faster and I start throwing harder,” said Bradford explaining his late inning success.
Beverly/Lowell head coach Todd Engle has become quite accustomed to Bradford’s ability to dominate on the mound over the past two summers.
“He’s (Bradford) on one helluva run right now,” said Engle, whose team improved to 22-12 with the win. “From pitching here last summer into his high school year and then back with us he has just been incredible.”
Post 64 scored what would turn out to be their only run of the game in the sixth inning when Kail Hill and Bryce Gandee delivered back to back singles and each moved into scoring position on the lone BevLow error of the game before Hill scored on an infield groundout by Turner Hill.
While the win puts Beverly/Lowell into the championship game on Tuesday, Marietta will have to defeat the winner of St.Clairsville versus Cambridge tonight to advance to the title game.
Engle looks for Post 64 (17-6) to make it back, setting up a potential scenario Wednesday where Marietta would have to beat Beverly/Lowell twice to win the tournament.
“We have so much respect for Coach (Brian) Brewer and that team and we knew it was going to be a battle,”said Engle. “I really look for them to make it back on Tuesday and it will be a real battle.”