All phases of the game clicking for Beverly/Lowell

Now, here’s the forecast for the July 30 American Legion state baseball tournament at Beavers Field in Lancaster at 4 p.m.

An avalanche of an American Legion baseball team named Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 is expected to appear on the diamond at that time. It’s also known as Hurricane Russell Chadwick.

This ballclub, which is Beverly-based, has just been burying and blowing opponents away of late.

Todd Engle-coached BevLow (26-13) has won 18 of its last 20 games, including last Saturday’s 11-2 rout of defending champion Cambridge Post 84 in a Region 8, district final at Don Schaly Stadium.

Post 389/750, which defeated St. Clairsville Post 159, 6-2, in a tournament opener Thursday and Cambridge 8-0 in a winner’s bracket game on noon Friday, never trailed in the three-day tournament. Zanesville Post 29 went two-and-out in the event.

“We’ve been a pretty good team this year when other people are chasing us,” said Engle, who has been at the helm for seven district crowns and seven state appearances, including an Ohio crown in 2006. “When we get behind and have to chase other people…I mean, that’s the youth that we’ve got. We’ll get down on ourselves and maybe doubt ourselves a little bit.

“We field it well enough that if we get out front of you and make you chase us then…that’s been our goal the whole tournament and we’ve been fortunate enough to do that.”

Everything just clicked for Beverly/Lowell at district – pitching, hitting, and fielding.

“We gave up four runs in three games,” Engle said. “We felt that we were the best defensive team here and we’re playing on an immaculate surface so there’s going to be no excuse for not fielding the baseball.”

Engle grinned.

“It’s been a long, long year, but you just see these kids grow and grow and grow,” the BevLow boss continued. “We’re so young. We’ll only lose three people off this team next year.”

Beverly/Lowell right-hander Ben Barnes toed the rubber in the district opener. Kyler Dennis got the nod in Game 2, and Phillip Hoffman was the winning hurler in the championship game. Lefty Justin Hill, and righty Derek Layton also saw action on the hill for the winners.

Engle will probably go with the same pitching rotation at state – but that of course is always subject to change.

“They’re grown up,” said Engle of his pitchers. “Evan Sawyer’s been working with my pitchers, and my pitchers have been going out there and competing. And they realize that if they throw strikes, this is pretty fun to pitch for this team because.we’re going to field it. We’re all buying into that philosophy.

“We don’t have anybody that’s going to stand up there and strike anybody out. That’s the thing with a young team. We throw the ball confidently to spots, and we try to get a lot of groundballs to our infield.”

Going around the horn, BevLow is also expecting to start Gunnar Smith (catcher), Austin Hefter (first), Joel Estes (second), Ethan Estes (third), Jake Ullman (short), Blake Kidder (left), Lance Schafer (center), and Bryce Gandee (right). Look for Devin Leister and Isaac Huffman to also see action.

Post 389/750 will be facing the Region 6 winner in its state opener.

“This has been a wonderful group to work with,” Engle said. “There’s eight teams at state, and we’re going over there confident and looking to play well.”

Hopefully, BevLow continues to play like an avalanche or a hurricane.

Let the other teams pick their poison.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com