Late homer dooms Beverly/Lowell vs. Circleville

LANCASTER, Ohio — Tyler Bradford and Nick Salyer were locked into a pitcher’s duel for six innings Thursday at the legion baseball state tournament, but Salyer’s Circleville Post 134 squad struck for a five-run seventh to claim a 7-2 victory over Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750.

Knotted up at 2-all after six, Bradford allowed three straight hits to start the seventh, including Salyer’s go-ahead RBI single, and was pulled in favor of Seth Dennis. Noah Cline greeted Dennis with an RBI base knock before Ryan Schwartz followed with a three-run bomb to left field to make it 7-2 and put the game away.

The contest was a rematch of last season’s state championship game, in which Circleville also was victorious. Beverly/Lowell now will play Conneaut Post 151 at 1 p.m. today in an elimination game, while Circleville takes on Wayne County Post 68 at 7 p.m. in the winner’s bracket.

Salyer hurled 6 2/3 innings before reaching his pitch limit. He allowed only two runs, both in the bottom of the second, which staked Beverly/Lowell to an early 2-1 lead.

Bradford had allowed an unearned run in the first, but fanned the side in the second and held Post 134 scoreless until the fifth.

Circleville tied things up at 2-2 in the fifth before threatening again in the sixth. After a leadoff single, Schwartz’ sacrifice bunt attempt was lined right back at Bradford, who made a diving catch and then doubled off the runner on first, Seth Lockard followed with a double to start another threat, but Bradford K’d Andrew Grcic to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Beverly/Lowell had a runner on with two outs, but Salyer got Maeson Long to ground out.

That set the stage for Circleville’s seventh-inning rally.

Pemberville Post 183 and Lancaster Post 11, who Beverly/Lowell defeated Wednesday, both lost Thursday and were eliminated from the tournament. Meigs Post 39 will play Sidney Post 217 at 10 a.m. today in an elimination game. Should Beverly/Lowell and Circleville both win today, they would face each other again