Broomball: Beverly/Lowell sweeps Meigs 17-0, 6-3
BEVERLY – Phillip Hoffman may be the youngest member of the 2013 edition of the Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 baseball team but it would be the youngster who came through in the clutch to lead B/L to a 6-3 come-from- behind victory in the nightcap as it swept a doubleheader from Meigs Post 39 Sunday at Fort Frye High.
Hoffman’s two-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning scored Gunnar Smith and Kordell Antill with the tying and go-ahead runs respectively as B/L rallied from a 3-0 deficit to down Meigs.
“That was a clutch hit for us right there as we were kind of sputtering,” said B/L head coach Todd Engle of Hoffman’s game winning hit. “He just continues to get better and better and better.”
Beverly/Lowell erupted for nine runs in the third inning and seven more in the fourth of the opener en route to a 17-0 shellacking of Meigs but found itself down for the majority of Game 2.
Engle sent Marietta High graduate Ben Barnas to the mound in the nightcap and the right-hander allowed three unearned runs in the second inning to allow Meigs to stake claim to the early lead.
After three Beverly/Lowell errors loaded the bases for Post 39 in the second, Meigs starting pitcher Heath Burgess helped himself with a solid two-run double down the right-field line.
Center fielder Zak Beegle followed with a sacrifice fly to center and Meigs had the early 3-0 lead.
B/L got one of those runs back in its half of the second inning as Burgess walked four hitters, including Lance Schafer with the bases loaded to trim the lead to 3-1.
It would remain that way until the last of the fifth when Beverly/Lowell rallied for five runs to turn the two-run deficit into a three-run lead.
Shortstop Jake Ullman got things going with a single, moved to second on a Burgess wild pitch and scored on a single by Smith to make it a 3-2 game.
Justin Greer advanced Smith into scoring position with a ground ball to the right side and Antill reached on an error by Meigs third baseman Tim Elam.
Antill stole second and the 14-year old Hoffman followed with his clutch single between shortstop and third base to make it a 4-3 ball game.
Austin Campbell doubled in Hoffman to add an insurance run and after Schafer reached on another Post 39 error, B/L pulled off a double steal with Campbell crossing the plate to make it a 6-3 game.
Justin Hill replaced Barnas on the mound in the third inning and the lefty hurler gave Beverly/Lowell an outstanding four innings of relief work.
“I have all the confidence in the world in Justin (Hill),’ said Engle. “He took a tough loss yesterday so I wanted to get him right back out there today.”
Hill allowed just four hits and fanned five Meigs hitters in his four scoreless innings of relief.
Engle elected to bring the young Hoffman in to pitch after he spent an extensive amount of time in the bullpen working with pitching coach Steve Riley during the opener.
That bullpen session proved to be quite productive as Hoffman set down Meigs in order in the top of the seventh, including the last two on strikeouts.
Hill was credited with his third victory of the season against just one loss, and Hoffman chalked up his first American Legion save, while Burgess took the loss for Meigs.
In the opener, Beverly/ Lowell got three hits apiece from Ethan Estes and Devon Leister and excellent pitching from starting and winning pitcher Evan Sawyer (3-3) as well as Dustin Duffy in relief.
The win pushed Beverly/Lowell over the .500 mark (13-11) for the first time since way back in the first week of the season, while the loss dropped Meigs to 2-9.
Post 389/750 will have today off before returning to the diamond Tuesday night when it travels to Don Coss Field in Cambridge to take on Cambridge Post 84 in a twinight doubleheader scheduled for a 5:30 first pitch.