Beverly/Lowell clubs Athens for 15-2 victory
BEVERLY — Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 got off to a bit of a sluggish start in Wednesday evening’s home game against Athens Post 21 but once they got things going they did so in a big way as they rolled to a 15-2, five-inning win.
Beverly/Lowell spotted Athens a pair of runs in the first inning before scoring 15 unanswered runs to improve to 12-1 on the season.
“I don’t know if we were as sharp mentally as we should have been early on and we’ve got some things we need to clean up,” said Beverly/Lowell head coach Todd Engle. “We got in here and started swinging it and everybody got comfortable and we played much better the rest of the way.”
Athens took advantage of some wildness from BevLow starting pitcher Cam Tennant as they jumped out to the early lead.
Andrew Stephens walked and stole second to begin the inning and Will Ginder followed by drawing a base on balls as well.
A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position and with Cam Niese at the plate Stephens pulled off a rare steal of home plate to give Post 21 a 1-0 lead.
Tennant looked to be well on his way to minimizing the damage as he retired the next two Post 21 hitters but he then walked Marcus Stevers and Jacob Bulger to load the bases.
Engle elected to replace Tennant on the mound with Clay Greuey who was greeted by an RBI-single by Carter Wharton to plate the second run of the inning.
Beverly/Lowell quickly answered with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the inning off of Athens starting pitcher Brayden Kish as lead-off hitter Seth Dennis singled and raced home on a run-scoring double by Easton Eibel.
Eibel later came into score on a throwing error by Athens to tie the score at 2-2.
The defending state champs took the lead in the last of the second when they sent 10 hitters to the plate to score five times and open up a 7-2 lead.
Back-to-back doubles by Seth Miller and Ian Ellis opened the inning which also featured RBI knocks by Eibel, Maeson Long and Wade Pauley.
BevLow increased their lead to 9-2 in the bottom of the third without the luxury of a base hit as they worked Athens reliever Caden Hewitt for four walks with Long and Thomas Miller bringing runs home with a walk and infield ground out respectively.
While the offense was putting runs on the board, Greuey was taking care of things on the mound as he limited Athens to just two base hits and no runs the rest of the way.
“Our pitching staff has been great all season long and we are just not giving up a whole lot of runs,” said Engle, whose team sports an earned run average of just over 2.00 through the first 13 games of the season. “He (Greuey) knew coming in that we needed him to throw strikes and challenge them and he did a great job of that.”
Post 389/750 put things out of reach in the bottom of the fourth as they scored six times on just two base hits with the big blow coming when Thomas Miller hit a bullet over the left field fence for a three-run home run.
Greuey retired the final seven hitters in order to gain his first American Legion victory.
With 12 wins against just one blemish, the 2019 state champs appear to be a solid team that will be a force to be reckoned with this summer.
“We are awful young and I don’t really know how good we are yet,” said Engle. “We are playing with a lot of emotion and it’s really been fun so far.”
Post 389/750 will be back in action Friday night at Lancaster with double-headers to follow Saturday in Zanesville and Sunday at home against Cambridge.