Beverly/Lowell has high expectations this summer

MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750’s Kurt Taylor throws a pitch during an American Legion baseball game Sunday.

BEVERLY — Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 is off to a great start in 2019 after placing runner-up in the Ohio State American Legion tournament the past two seasons.

The Todd Engle-led squad scored wins over Marietta and Meigs Sunday to improve to 4-0 on the season after going 38-10 a summer ago.

Bev/Low returns a nucleus of kids from last year’s team including almost the entire pitching staff.

“We like where we are at and I like this group of kids and they are working very hard,” said Engle. “Hopefully by the end of the year we will be back where we want to be.”

Former Fort Frye and current Potomac State lefty Tyler Bradford and Caldwell’s Kam Hesson anchor a very deep and experienced pitching staff.

Bradford has been nothing short of dominant in his four years on the mound for the “Boys of Summer” while Hesson quietly reeled off nine straight wins last summer.

Engle will have quite a few choices to complement his dual aces including former Warren lefty Drew Huffman along with current Warrior right-handers Brett Gandee, Seth Dennis and Kurt Taylor.

Former Fort Frye Cadet and future Muskingum College lefty Luke Nelson has pitched in some huge games throughout his high school and Legion careers while Morgan right hander Conner Counterman tossed five innings of no-hit ball against Meigs on Sunday before allowing three hits and three runs in the sixth.

“I think we counted one time and 14 kids on our roster could pitch, some have pitched quite a bit and some just a little,” said Engle, who will be assisted by sons Trey and Tyler, as well as Greg Huffman and Rob Nelson. “Obviously Bradford and Kam will be our one and two but we don’t drop off a whole lot after them.”

The Beverly/Lowell infield will likely feature Bradford at first base and the Fort Frye combination of Nate Brothers and Tate Engle at second and shortstop respectively.

Engle has been a productive force for B/L in the field and at the plate for four seasons and collected four hits in Sunday’s two games including three consecutive doubles against Meigs.

Brothers is very versatile and could also play third or catch while Dennis will add infield depth as well after manning shortstop this spring for a Warren team that made it all the way to the District finals before bowing out.

Taylor also played first and third base for Warren while Evan Gandee will also provide infield depth.

Morgan’s Clayton Cook returns after an outstanding season last year in which he shared the catching duties with Logan Isner.

Warren’s Thomas Miller adds depth and will likely being playing with a lot of confidence after sending the Warriors to the districts with a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the seventh to down Marietta.

The outfield should be yet another strong point for Beverly/Lowell with both Nelson and Huffman capable of playing great defense in centerfield and with the likes of Brett Gandee, Eric Isner and Mason Long among the candidates to fill the corner outfield spots.

Engle feels that the District will be very tough this season and that his club may need to play even better than they did last year to make a similar run.

“Our district is going to be tough this year. … Marietta is solid, Cambridge and St.Clairsville are going to be really good,” said Engle. “From here on out it’s going to be who improves the most.”

Beverly/Lowell gets some rare time off this week before returning to action Sunday at home against Cambridge.