BEVERLY - After winning the district 11 American Legion baseball tournament the "hard way" the past three years, Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 will get to take a little easier route to the state tournament after drubbing St.Clairsville Post 159, 20-5, Sunday afternoon at Fort Frye High School.
Each of the past three seasons Post 389/750 has been forced to crawl out of the losers bracket after dropping their opening round contests.
"I would not recommend trying to do that to anyone," said Engle of the challenge of rising from the losers bracket, "If you can win Tuesday then somebody is going to have to beat you twice."
Early on the heavy-underdog St.Clairsville team appeared to be poised to give Beverly/Lowell all they wanted and then some before some timely B/L hitting and some dismal Post 159 defense broke open a tight game.
Though playing on their home field, Post 389/750 was designated the visiting team and quickly jumped on St.Clairsville starting pitcher Greyson Loweecy for a pair of runs in the top of the first.
Former Marietta Tiger Eli Lenington led off the game with a walk and one out later moved to third on an infield single by third baseman Tyler Proctor.
After Landon Kern was retired, Clay Ullman reached on an error, the first of eight St.Clairsville errors on the day, to score the games first run and Ullman's brother, Jake, followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Beverly/Lowell last played one week ago and showed some signs of rust in the early going.
Starting pitcher Zach Eddy walked the first two St.Clairsville hitters in the last of the first before Tyler McGary lined a single to left to make it 2-1.
A single by third baseman Tyler Strama loaded the bases and one out later Eddy issued another base on balls to Colton Pritchard to force in the second run of the inning.
Post 159 reached Eddy for an unearned run in the bottom of the second to cut the lead to 6-3.
Beverly/Lowell began to break things open in the third, scoring five times with the key hits being a Lenington two-run triple and a Clay Ullman two-run single.
With one out McGary singled and Strama was hit in the back by an Eddy fastball.
Loweecy followed with a single to load the bases and McGary scored on a wild pitch.
Pritchard reached on an error to make it 12-5 game, before Eddy retired Dalton Conroy and Hunter Westlake to minimize the damage.
St. Clairsville plays tonight at 6 p.m. against the loser of Sunday's late game between Zanesville/Dresden and Cambridge.