Winner, Winner

Beverly/Lowell claims Ohio legion state championship

RON JOHNSTON, The Marietta Times Members of the Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 celebrate following their 7-1 state championship win over Wayne County Post 68 Sunday in Lancaster.

LANCASTER — Seth Dennis was a menace to the Gunslingers.

The right-hander from Warren High pitched Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 to a 7-1 triumph over Wayne County Post 68 in the Ohio American Legion Baseball State Touranament Championship game at Beavers Field Sunday.

“I was just trying to hit my spots, change speeds, and keep the hitters off-balance,” Dennis said. “This was probably the best game I ever pitched.”

Hurling a 7-inning complete game, Dennis struck out seven, walked two, and scattered four singles. The run he gave up was unearned.

“I don’t feel like I overpowered anybody,” Dennis said. “I just knew what I could do.

“And that was probably the most strikeouts (7) I ever had in a game.”

Dennis also helped his own cause with two runs scored and a run-batted-in.

“Seth’s got a huge heart,” said BevLow skipper Todd Engle. “He played all over the place for me in the tournament. He played some in the outfield and at third base. He hit in the 5-hole, and then we gave him the ball and he goes the distance there. My hat’s off to him.”

Offensively for the Bombers, Drew Huffman, Nate Brothers each had two hits, while Caleb Davis drove in two runs batting in the 9-hole.

With the win, Beverly/Lowell (35-8) claimed the program’s second state title. Post 389/750 also won it all in 2006.

“This is the second time for our county (Washington) and our district (11),” Engle said. “Who would’ve thought the little ole Beverly/Lowell would’ve done that. But right back here, these people (fans), who have followed this team, are a big reason why we’re here.”

Also with the victory, the Bombers advance to the Great Lakes Regional Tournament at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill., where they are scheduled to play the Michigan American Legion baseball champion at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

“Somebody said that they were going to fly us this year,” Engle said. “The last time we went (2006), we went on a bus. So, it’ll be interesting, because I’ve got some kids who’ve never flown before.

Engle paused.

“We’ll probably pitch Kam (Hesson),” he said. “Tyler (Bradford) is a our best arm, but we’re awfully good with him at first base.”

Wayne County finished as state runner-up with a 30-9 mark. Post 68 righty Jake Hanzie suffered the mound setback. Jaden Varner, Kristian Scalf, and Ken Yoder pitched in relief for the Gunslingers.

WC staked itself to a 1-0 advantage in the top of first inning when Jay Luikart singled home leadoff batter Kristian Scalf, who was safe on a fielding error.

But BevLow came back and plated two base runners (Dennis and Brothers) in the bottom of the second on RBI singles by Davis and Huffman.

Post 389/750 stretched is lead to 5-1 in the third when Evan Gandee and Davis each walked with the bases loaded. Another runner (Brothers) legged it home on a wild pitch.

Beverly/Lowell tacked on two more runs in the fourth to make it 7-1. Dennis produced one run (Bradford) with a groundout, while Mason Long singled home Clayton Cook.

“We started hitting the baseball,” Engle said. “The last few games, we’ve hit the ball pretty well. That takes a lot of pressure off us defensively.”

Ron Johnston can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com