Beverly/Lowell plays Lancaster at 7 p.m. today
BEVERLY — When Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750’s pitchers throw strikes, they’re tough to beat.
In the District 11, Region 8 tournament at Don Coss Field in Cambridge, BevLow’s Big 3 — Tyler Bradford, Kam Hesson, and Kurt Taylor — combined to strike out 21, walk two, and allow just seven runs in 18 innings of work on the bump, which resulted in three victories and a third straight crown.
“It’s a lot easier to pitch whenever you’re up than whenever you’re down,” said the right-handed-throwing Taylor after fanning a career-high dozen and walking none in a 4-2 win against St. Clairsville Post 159 in the winner-take-all championship game.
Beverly/Lowell’s terrific trio and the rest of a very deep, talented pitching staff will be well-rested when they throw in this week’s 8-team, double-elimination Ohio American Legion State Tournament at Beavers Field in Lancaster.
Post 389/750 (25-7) is scheduled to play tournament host Lancaster Post 11 (27-18) in the late game at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Also competing that day will be Pemberville Post 183 vs. Meigs Post 39 at 10 a.m.; Wayne County Post 68 vs. defending champion Circleville Post 134 at 1 p.m.; and Conneault Post 151 vs. Sidney Post 247 at 4 p.m.
“We’ve got a little history with Lancaster,” said BevLow skipper Todd Engle, who has guided Post 389/750 to 10 state appearances in the last 13 years. “They got us the last time (6-2) we played at our place (on July 12). We left 12 runners on base. We’re familiar with them.”
The weekend before that, though, Beverly/Lowell swept a doubleheader from Post 11 at Beavers Field.
And, in last year’s state tournament, Post 389/750 defeated Lancaster, 6-2, with Brent West and Taylor pitching in an elimination game. B/L then dropped a 4-2 decision to Circleville to finish state runner-up for the second straight summer.
“It was awesome pitching in the state semifinal and getting the win,” recalled Taylor. “It was pretty cool.”
The southpaw-throwing Bradford is expected to get the nod on the hill against Lancaster.
The Potomac State standout hasn’t thrown since beating Cambridge Post 84, 3-2, in a district opener on July 20.
Going around the horn for Beverly/Lowell will probably be Marietta College recruit Clayton Cook (catcher), Brett Gandee (first), Evan Gandee (second), Seth Dennis (third), Ohio Valley University recruit Tate Engle (short), Drew Huffman (left), Muskingum University recruit Luke Nelson (center), and Mason Long (right).
Dana Rowland-coached Lancaster is expected to counter with Dylan Piko or Heidelberg University recruit Zane Mirgon (pitch), Mirgon (catcher), Lane Kastely (first), Nate Pechar (second), Cody Fyffe (third), Chaz Dickerson (short), Zack Crist (left), Trey Henry (center), and Tylor Wolfe (right).
Mirgon has earned a team-high seven wins on the bump, while James Troup has five and Coleby Axe and Piko four apiece.
Pacing the offense, Wolfe is batting .449 with three homers, five triples, and 12 doubles. Dickerson is hitting .439; Pechar, .397; Seth Burgess, .371; and Fyffe, .356.
“They’re solid,” Todd Engle said.
Taylor said he “can’t wait for the tournament to begin.”
“It’s the time of your life up there,” he added.
Ron Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org