AMERICAN LEGION BASEBALL:  GREAT LAKES REGIONAL: Beverly/Lowell begins play today

Photo by Ron Johnston Members of the Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 American Legion baseball team celebrate their state title over Wayne County Post 68 Sunday in Lancaster. Bev/Low starts Great Lakes Regional play against Michigan champion Gladwin Post 171 at 11:15 a.m. today in Charleston, Ill.

BEVERLY — Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 is one up on Gladwin Post 171.

The BevLow Bombers (35-8) claimed their second Ohio American Legion State baseball title with a 7-1 win against the Wayne County Post 68 Gunslingers at Lancaster’s Beavers Field this past Sunday. Post 389/750 also won one in 2006.

Gladwin posted its first Legion state crown in Stevensville, Mich., last weekend.

Both Post 389/750 and Post 171 are scheduled to square off in the second game of the American Legion Baseball Great Lakes Regional Tournament at 11:15 a.m. today at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

“We’re looking forward to it,” said Beverly/Lowell skipper Todd Engle after his team beat Wayne County.

Photo by Ron Johnston Third baseman Nate Brothers tags out an opposing player during a 2019 American Legion regular-season game earlier this summer.

Also in the double-elimination Great Lakes regional will be two Legion baseball teams from Illinois (host Charleston Post 93 and Danville Post 210) and Pennslvania (Swoyersville Post 644 and Hempfield East Post 98), and one each from Terre Haute Indiana Wayne Newton Post 346 and Lyon County, Kentucky Aces Post 68.

At stake will be a berth in the American Legion World Series Aug. 15-20 in Shelby, North Carolina.

“I know there are football coaches in the county who want to get their kids back,” Engle said. “But we want to continue to play for a while.”

Last weekend in Lancaster, Beverly/Lowell had to battle through the loser’s bracket after falling 7-2 to defending state champion Circleville Post 134 on the second day (Thursday, Aug. 1). On Friday, BevLow downed Conneault Post 151, 7-5, in an elimination game.

Then, the following day (Saturday, Aug. 3), the Bombers swept two elimination games from Wayne County, 9-4, and Sidney Post 217, 6-3, to advance to Sunday’s winner-take-all tilt against the Gunslingers.

Righty Seth Dennis from Warren High went the 7-inning distance in the championship game, striking out seven, walking two, and allowing four singles. The run he gave up was unearned.

“I don’t even know where to start with that kid,” Engle said. “I didn’t even tell him last night (Saturday). Usually I tell them (pitchers) before they go to bed that they’re going to throw. I didn’t tell until we met this morning in the motel lobby to come over here (Beavers Field), because I didn’t want him to be jumpy.

The Post 389/750 skipper paused.

“Seth’s the youngest kid I got,” Engle continued. “He’s 16 years old. What do they have out there at Warren. We know that he can play basketball. He’s a heckuva a golfer. And, obviously, if he wants to do this…..well, he played all over the place for me in the tournament.”

With center fielder Luke Nelson injured (ankle), Dennis will probably be positioned in left field against Gladwin. Dennis had been starting at third base in the postseason.

Going around the horn, Right-hander Kam Hesson is expected to get the starting nod on the hill. Clayton Cook will catch; Tyler Bradford is at first base; Evan Gandee, second; Nate Brothers, third; Tate Engle, short; Drew Huffman, center; and Mason Long, right. The DH (designated hitter) will probably be either Brett Gandee or Kurt Taylor. Caleb Davis could also see action in the outfield.

Coach Engle could change his mind and start the southpaw-throwing Bradford instead. But…

“We’ll probably pitch Kam,” Engle said. “Tyler is our best arm, but we’re awfully good with him at first base.”

Overall, Beverly/Lowell is solid defensively and in the pitching rotation. And, offensively, the Bombers are a tough out one through nine.

“That (offense) takes a lot of pressure off us defensively, because we can play a little defense,” Engle said. “But when you’re playing in a 2-1 game all the time, it puts a lot pressure on your defense. You let us get up like this (in the state final), and we can play some defense.”

The rest of the Post 389/750 roster includes Conner Counterman, Jacob Huffman, Jude Huffman, Eric Isner, and Thomas Miller.

Todd Engle is assisted by Doug Wainwright (manger), Trey Engle, Greg Huffman, Tyler Engle, and Austin “Nonch” Baumgartner.

Gladwin Post 171’s roster is expected to feature Coach Ryan Raymond, Dane Smitz, Nathan Longstreth, Drew Grove, Justin Greer, Reed Raynond, John Cogswell, Michael Brasseur, Haden Novak, Coach Dan Marillat, Hunter Marillat, Coach Scott Brokoff, Jarrett Inscho, Trent Reed, Garhet Metiva, Chase Raymond, Lucas Schweinsberg, Carson Longstreth, Garrett Stockford, Dexter Guentensberger, Lane Peters, Coach Ryan Longstreth, Coach Mark Noval, Head coach Terry Brokoff, and Jonas Kanouse.

Ron Johnston can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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