In a pinch: Beverly/Lowell wins 1, loses 1 to St. Clairsville

BEVERLY – Pinch hit basehits by Phillip Hoffman and Derek Layton keyed a three-run sixth inning and Justin Hill tossed a three-hit shutout as Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 salvaged a double header split with a 3-0 victory over St. Clairsville Post 159 in the night cap Sunday afternoon at Fort Frye Field.

St. Clairsville south paw Mike Jacobs blanked B/L on two hits in a 4-0 win in the opener and right hander Lucas Lloyd was even better through the first five innings of game two as he held Post 389/750 hitless while retiring ten hitters in a row after a second inning error.

B/L head coach Todd Engle elected to pinch hit Hoffman to begin the sixth inning and the Federal Hocking Lancer drilled a double to center field for the first hit of the game for 389/750.

Bryce Gandee came into to run for Hoffman and moved to third base on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Isaac Huffman.

Lloyd got the second out of the inning when he got Kyler Dennis to pop out to shallow center field but Layton came through in the clutch when he delivered a two-out run scoring single up the middle to score Gandee with the first Beverly/Lowell run of the twin bill.

“That just shows the type of character we have on this team,” said Engle of the clutch at bats off the bench for Hoffman and Layton. “I told the guys late in the game to stay ready because we were going to need them and they both came up with big hits.”

Joel Estes came off the bench to run for Layton and he came around to score when Ethan Estes doubled into the gap in left center field.

Ethan Estes moved to third on the throw and scored on a Lloyd wild pitch to give BevLow a 3-0 lead heading to the final inning.

Hill allowed single base hits in each of the first three innings before surrendering only a fourth inning walk to Lewis Mitchell the rest of the way.

The Warren Warrior graduate finished strong as he set St. Clairsville down in order in the last of the seventh to secure the win.

Hill’s outing was a crucial one for a Beverly/Lowell team that was playing it’s third double header in as many days, forcing Engle to use just about every arm he has available on his young team.

“We are a very young team and Justin has stepped up and became a great leader for us,” said Engle of Hill, who rebounded nicely from a disappointing first start of the season Monday against Pickerington that saw him knocked out in the first inning. “He was really struggling before today but came out and put the team first and gave us a great outing just when we needed it the most.”

Hill walked two and struck out a pair to even his season record at 1-1.

In the opener Jacobs was simply dominant from the first pitch to the last as the St. Clairsville lefty struck out seven and walked five as he allowed only singles to Gunnar Smith and Blake Kidder.

Engle was quite impressed with Jacobs’ performance.

“He (Jacobs) is with out a doubt one of the best pitchers in our entire district,” said Engle. “We will see them again later on in the season and we now know what we are up against.”

The SC defense was solid behind Jacobs as they turned three double plays in the opener.

Post 159 scored the first run of the double header in the top of the second when Dillon Curtin led off with a single off of Layton and advanced to third when Jacobs smacked an opposite field double into the corner in left field.

Curtin scored on a Layton wild pitch to make it a 1-0 game.

Third baseman Hunter Westlake played long ball in the fourth as he drilled a solo home run deep over the fence in left field to make it a 2-0 game.

SC scored twice more in the top of the fifth inning with a little help from a fatigued Beverly/Lowell defense that committed a pair of throwing errors that allowed a pair of runs to score.

Daulton Freeman got the inning started with a single and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Bailey McGrath.

Eric Banal singled to score Freeman and when Post 389/750 threw the ball away at second and third base, Banal made it all the way around the bases to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

“After all the games the past few days I thought our kids arms were just hanging,” said Engle, whose squad committed three errors in the first game and a total of four in the double dipper. “A lot of our kids have pitched a lot over the last couple of days and it showed in the field a little bit today.”

The loss squares Beverly/Lowell’s season mark at 4-4 after the first week of the season and their veteran head coach see’s a lot of reason for optimism as the season progresses.

“We are really young and fighting a little bit with confidence at times right now,” said Engle, whose team scored two big come-from-behind seventh-inning victories the past few days over Coshocton and Steubenville. “This group is extremely talented, and should just get better and better as we go along.”

Post 389/750 will play its fifth doubleheader of the young season Tuesday evening when it travels to Don Coss Field in Cambridge to take on Cambridge Post 24.