Nate Brothers, Brett Gandee help Beverly/Lowell beat Cambridge
CAMBRIDGE — Nate Brothers delivered in a pinch.
Batting for Kam Hesson in the top of the seventh, the Fort Frye graduate ripped a two-strike, two-out, two-run single as Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 rallied to defeat Cambridge Post 84, 2-1, in the opening game of an American Legion baseball doubleheader Tuesday night at Don Coss Field.
After winning the nightcap, 9-1, Post 389/750 improved its record to 11-1, while Post 84 fell to 10-6.
“Nate is a bulldog, I’m telling you, man,” said veteran BevLow skipper Todd Engle. “He went and got a job (after graduation), and he’s working 10 hours a day at Pioneer Pipe, and then coming to play ball.
“He gives you everything that he’s got every night out. It was a no-brainer to go get him and put him in that spot. He made me look good.”
So did right-hander Brett Gandee.
The Warren ace pitched a complete game, striking out five, walking two, and allowing four singles and one earned run.
“He showed me something,” Engle said. “Before the game, we were going to pitch by committee, because we’re leaving to go to the beach (for the Palmetto Legion Invitational). I was only going to let him throw 30 pitches. But he begged and begged and begged to stay in. He wanted to go back out.”
Cambridge righty Peyton Neff, Gandee’s mound counterpart in the pitching duel, suffered the setback. In seven innings of work, the Muskingum University recruit fanned four, walked none, and gave up five singles and two earned runs.
“Peyton’s a heckuva competitor,” Engle said. “I knew once he got locked in, he’d step up in games like this.”
Neff, who batted leadoff, helped his own cause when he snapped a scoreless tie with an RBI single to left in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“Brett made a mistake and hung a curve right there,” Engle said. “But that’s baseball.”
After Neff retired the first BevLow batter in the top of the seventh, he gave up an infield hit up the middle to Brett Gandee. Younger brother Evan Gandee followed with a sharp single to left. Stopping at second was courtesy runner Jacob Huffman.
Next up, Seth Dennis grounded to short, but was able to hustle to first to deny Cambridge a game-ending double play. On the play, Huffman stopped at third.
With Brothers in the batter’s box, Dennis swiped second base.
Battling Neff, Brothers drilled a smash to center field, plating Huffman with the equalizer and Dennis with the go-ahead run.
In the bottom half of the frame, Brett Gandee gave up a two-out infield hit to Logan McVicker. But then he fanned Neff to seal the victory.
“You know, I’m still not happy offensively where we’re at,” Engle said.
Engle was much happier in the second game, especially in the sixth inning when BevLow plated seven runs on five hits and five walks.