Beverly/Lowell, St. Clairsville play today for district title
CAMBRIDGE — Beverly/Lowell was cruising along when it skidded into the ditch.
Squandering a five-run advantage, Post 389/750 was hurt by a 7-run top of the sixth inning en route to a 12-7 setback to St. Clairsville Post 159 in American Legion District 11, Region 8 baseball action Tuesday night at Don Coss Field.
“We’ve won a lot of games and we’ve lost some games, and that one there ranks right up there amongst them as far as losing momentum and not being able to get it back,” said BevLow skipper Todd Engle. “Ten walks and four errors, it’s a recipe for disaster.
“I was kind of upset with our last three at-bats where we didn’t scratch. You can’t wait on a good team like this. They hit the ball too well that something’s going to happen eventually. We got to seven and we kind of set and waited for them to come — and they got seven in one inning. I don’t know. We’re just going to line up and go tomorrow (Wednesday), I guess.”
Two-time defending district champion Beverly/Lowell (24-7) and St. Clairsville (22-9) are scheduled to square off in a winner-take-all final at 6 p.m. today. At stake will be a berth in next week’s state tournament in Lancaster.
Earlier Tuesday at DCF, Post 159 rallied for five runs in the sixth inning to defeat Marietta Post 64 (17-10), 8-4, in an elimination game and the right to play BevLow in the ensuing championship round.
“We’ve been in that position (coming out of the losers bracket) before (last year), and that’s the easier of the positions,” Engle said. “Because with them (St. C) playing twice today, they had momentum. After beating Marietta and then coming in, we grabbed the momentum from them, but they fought right back.”
Against B/L, Jakob Jarvis helped lead the comeback, going 4 for 5 with a triple and four runs-batted-in.
Tyler Tonkovich was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI, while Will Balgo had two ribbies.
Mason Ramsay picked up the mound win with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. Cole Porter started on the bump for Post 159.
“That was a gutsy performance,” said St. C field general Mike Muklewicz. “That was one of the most fun ballgames I’ve been in in a long, long time.”
Tate Engle, Luke Nelson, and Evan Gandee each had two hits to lead Beverly/Lowell. Brett Gandee drove in three runs with a bases-clearing double.
Seth Dennis suffered the loss on hill after relieving starter Drew Huffman in the sixth. Nelson also pitched in relief.
Sparked by Tate Engle’s leadoff double and Brett Gandee’s two basehit, BevLow staked itself to a 3-0 lead in the opening frame. Post 389/750 made it 4-0 in the second inning when Evan Gandee legged it home from second on a groundout.
After St. C got a run on a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth, Beverly/Lowell plated three runs in the bottom half of the frame to make it 7-1. During the surge, Caleb Davis had a leadoff double, while Engle and Tyler Bradford each drove in a run.
Post 159 cut it to five in the fifth when Jarvis legged it home on a wild pitch.
In the top of the sixth, St. Clairsville chased Huffman and enjoyed a bat-around, scoring seven runs. Tonkovich had two hits in the inning and drove in the tying run with a single. Balgo followed with a two-run single to give St. C a 9-7 advantage. Jarvis also had a two-single during the offensive uprising.
St. Clairsville added three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh with Jarvis tripling home two runs. Jarvis himself then scored on a wild pitch.
Right-hander Kurt Taylor is expected to toe the rubber in tonight’s championship game, while Drake Dobson could get the nod for St. C.
“It’s going to be a dandy of a game,” Todd Engle said.
Against Marietta, Post 159 righty Dylan Gregorcic pitched a complete game to get the win. Jake Probst had three hits and Kyle Storer two to pace the winners.
Dakota Miller led Marietta with two hits, including a double. Jarrett Jackson drove in two runs, while Kail Hill doubled home one.
Contact Ron Johnston at email@example.com.