Comedy of errors not so funny
Derek Layton had every reason in the world to be upset.
The former Fort Frye pitching standout easily had grounds to sue his Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 defense for non-support in Saturday night’s American Legion baseball Region 8 elimination game against Cadiz Post 34 at Don Coss Field.
But Layton kept his composure, and rode out a rough opening two innings on the bump. During those frames, BevLow committed a combined five errors, and trailed 4-0 at the end of one and 7-3 in the second.
Cadiz had it in the bag, right?
BevLow had a whole game to come back, and did, winning 23-10, to stay alive in the tournament.
Before it ended, B/L would make five more miscues to finish with a double-digit 10.
Amazing. Doubly amazing.
As often as Beverly/Lowell was booting and kicking the ball in the infield at the beginning of the contest, it almost looked like a soccer match out there on the diamond.
As errant as some of the throws were, a 7-foot first baseman would have had difficulty leaping and hauling in the ball.
But Layton didn’t even as much offer a glare at his fielders. He just continued to throw hard as always – and was patient.
So was Todd Engle.
The veteran Post 389/750 skipper had to be pulling his hair out with all of the errors – but didn’t. He kept his cool.
When his team returned to the dugout, Engle probably could have held up a mitt then, and said.
“Gentlemen, this is a baseball glove. Use it to field the ball. Please, help Derek out.”
But, of course, Engle didn’t say that, because he knew somehow, someway that his ballclub would bounce back from the adversity – and, as it turned out, did.
Beverly/Lowell scored three runs in the first and two more in the second to cut it to 7-5. Folks, B/L had Cadiz right where it wanted it.
In the top of the third, Post 389/750 played errorless ball as Layton retired the Post 34 side in order: one, two, three.
If Cadiz was still feeling pretty good about itself because it still had the lead, that all changed in the bottom half of the frame.
Beverly/Lowell batted around and exploded for six runs to take an 11-7 advantage. After which, B/L never looked back.
Layton pitched another scoreless inning in the fourth, but gave up a single run, which incredibly was earned, in the fifth.
In the bottom half of the inning, Post 389/750 had another bat-around, and scored seven runs. It now led 20-8.
To Beverly/Lowell’s credit, it stayed the course, and, despite all of the errors, ultimately prevailed.
As for Layton, he continued to smile, and was the pitcher of record at the conclusion. With the game for all intents and purposes in the win column, he was relieved in the seventh by Trace Schafer.
Helping his own cause, Layton rapped out three hits, including a double, and drove in four runs.
He stayed focused even when BevLow was digging itself a hole on the field.
As for the bottom line, Post 389/750 won big, and it really didn’t matter how many errors it made…at least, for this game.
Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740)373-2121, x534, or at firstname.lastname@example.org