Isner, Neal’s gem lift Beverly/Lowell
CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — Logan Isner’s Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 teammates call him “Hulk,” and for good reason.
The Fort Frye product showed off his strength during American Legion baseball Region 8, District 11 tournament action Saturday at Don Coss Field, cranking a walk-off grand slam over the left-field fence to lift Beverly/Lowell to a 6-2 victory over Tuscarawas County Post 205.
“He’s got incredible, incredible strength,” said Post 389/750 skipper Todd Engle, whose club improved to 21-12. “He’s hit a home run in our last two games now. When we hit before games, it’s nothing for him to hit seven or eight out (in batting practice). He just does it so easily and effortlessly. He got that one.”
Left-hander Tanner Neal played a pivotal role in the win as well, going the nine-inning distance and allowing just two earned runs on three hits to earn the mound win for Beverly/Lowell. Neal struck out nine batters and walked just two.
“Tanner Neal, what can you say about him pitching on the mound?” Engle said. “He just gutted her out all day long. I thought he did a really good job against a really good team.”
Post 205 (23-11) defeated Beverly/Lowell three out of four times in the regular season, and appeared on its way to another triumph after getting to Neal for a two-spot in the fourth.
Cobe Hutchison’s run-scoring triple and Seth Johnson’s sacrifice fly gave Tuscarawas County a 2-0 lead, which appeared to be enough support for starting pitcher Layne Perks, who blanked Beverly/Lowell the first four innings.
Derek Layton, however, cut the deficit in half for Post 389/750 with an RBI single to left to plate Tate Engle in the fifth.
Beverly/Lowell struck again in the bottom of the eighth. With Jake Davis in scoring position with two outs, Trace Schafer’s clutch single to center knotted the score at 2-all going into the ninth.
After Neal, who allowed just two base-runners after the fourth inning, threw a scoreless top half, Beverly/Lowell rallied off Post 205 reliever Logan Morehead.
Drew Huffman led off with a walk, Tate Engle followed with a single and Tyler Bradford was intentionally walked to load the bases with nobody out.
After Layton popped out to short and Davis struck out, all the pressure was on Isner. Morehead fell behind 2-0 before Isner jumped all over a fastball and deposited it where no one could catch it.
“We knew coming in here, we had our work cut out for us,” Todd Engle said. “Hopefully that will jump-start us and get us back to early in the year when we were hitting the baseball and scoring a lot of runs.”
Morehead retired one batter in the eighth and two in the ninth before suffering the loss for Post 205, which is now 1-1 in the double-elimination tournament. Perks went 7 2-3 innings, walking three and striking out one in the no-decision.
Neal’s effort in his team’s tournament opener was key as it saved Todd Engle from having to dip into his pitching depth. Beverly/Lowell will have the majority of its staff available going forward, including ace Tyler Bradford in today’s big matchup against fellow Washington County foe Marietta Post 64. The two teams did not meet in the regular season.
“We’re liable to pack this place for an all-Washington County game,” Todd Engle said.
“You can’t count nobody out in this tournament. This is going to be fun before it’s over.”