BEVERLY - Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 got off to a hot start and finished even hotter Friday evening.
With an 8-0 lead, Beverly/Lowell suffered a hiccup in the sixth inning by giving up five runs but was able to answer with six in the bottom half of the frame to claim a 14-5 victory over Zanesville Post 29 at Fort Frye High School.
"That's about how this team's played all summer," Post 389/750 head coach Todd Engle said after his ballclub improved to 11-11. "We'll have one disastrous inning. I like the resilience, to give up five and come back and get six, but we've got to get that cleaned up."
B/L jumped on Zanesville starter Jordan Hunkins early, scoring two runs in the first inning and four more in the second.
Jake Ullman led off for B/L with a walk, stole second and advanced to third on the catcher's throwing error. Ethan Estes followed with a walk to put runners on the corners. When one of Hunkins' pickoff attempts got away from the first baseman, Ullman scored easily and Estes cruised into second. That opened the door for cleanup hitter Derek Layton, who smacked a single to left to drive in Estes and make the score 2-0.
B/L piled it on in the second. Bryce Gandee led off with a grounder to second that was misplayed, allowing him to reach safely. Isaac Huffman and Ullman followed with bunt hits to load the bases before Estes drew a walk to bring Gandee in. Two batters later, Layton cashed in again. This time Layton went opposite field, driving in Huffman and Ullman. When the ball was bobbled in the outfield, it allowed Estes to score all the way from first to put B/L up 6-0.
"All year long, (Layton) has come up with that two-out hit for us, that big RBI," Engle said.
The lead expanded to eight in the fourth when Lance Schafer skied a long-ball that cleared the left field fence. Estes also scored after walking and stealing second.
"I kinda got on Lance early there for his body language," Engle said. "He was struggling a little bit. His (batting practice) session tonight wasn't the best in the world.
"He showed the type of player he is, after having two iffy at-bats, to come back and hit the home run for us. That's the kind of player he is."
B/L starting pitcher Phillip Hoffman cruised through the first five innings, allowing just one base hit. Zanesville started seeing the ball a little better in the sixth, sending five runners across the plate to cut it to 8-5.
With two on and none out, Austin Every ripped a double to left field that got Zanesville on the board. Travis Johnston followed with an RBI single to make it 8-2.
Then Kevin Every made those in the Beverly/Lowell dugout a bit nervous when he mashed a three-run homer to left bring Zanesville within three, 8-5.
But just as Zanesville was closing the gap, B/L widened it right back up.
Engle's club batted around in the bottom of the sixth, plating six runs to stretch the lead 14-5. Schafer and Gunnar Smith both had run-scoring doubles, Schafer's of the bases-clearing variety, to lead the rally.
Hoffman made quick work of Zanesville in the seventh to earn his first mound win of the summer.
"Phillip showed pretty good command," Engle said. "He hadn't thrown since probably two weeks ago when we were at Troy."
A busy weekend awaits the club as it is slated for a doubleheader Saturday against Steubenville at home and then a road game against Athens Sunday.