BEVERLY - Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 will once again host the district American Legion baseball tournament at Fort Frye High School beginning Sunday, and expectations are high as the club tries to earn a spot in the state tournament for the third consecutive season.
Head coach Todd Engle has a very balanced squad that enters the tournament with an outstanding 33-4 record including 24 in a row and 31 of the last 33.
Engle is no stranger to not only getting his teams to the state tournament but seeing them perform well in the tourney once they get there as witnessed by its 2006 state title.
MIKE MORRISON The Marietta Times
Beverly/Lowell righty Zach Eddy delivers a pitch homeward against a Cambridge batter during American Legion baseball action at Fort Frye High School last Sunday.
That team went 44-9 but as good as it was it never won 24 games in a row like the current team has.
"It's (the streak) something we haven't talked about much, we just try to win every inning," said Engle.
"But this team has a chance to do something special, much like the 2006 team did."
Most felt going into the season that this year's team would be outstanding offensively, but it has been the pitching that has been the most consistent for Beverly/Lowell.
Fort Frye graduate Zach Eddy was penciled in to be the ace of the staff at the season's onset and has been quite effective (5-1, 2.70 ERA) for B/L, but a Monroe Central Seminole has come from out of nowhere to lead the staff in wins.
Kordell Antill heads into the tournament with a perfect 10-0 record and an outstanding 1.76 earned run average.
"With Zach (Eddy) we kind of knew what we were going to get, because he was here last year," said Engle. "But Kordell has just been a big surprise from day one."
The right hander has allowed just 35 basehits and 16 walks in over 60 innings of work.
A pair of Marietta Tigers round out the Beverly/Lowell rotation in righty Ben Barnas (8-2, 4.13) and southpaw Evan Sawyer (6-0, 2.84).
Former Marietta Tiger and Pioneer standout Steve Riley is the pitching coach of the staff that sports a very solid 3.51 team ERA, while compiling 19 complete games and allowing only a pair of home runs on the season.
Offensively, Post 389/750 has been paced by a pair of former Warren Warriors in Tyler Proctor and Landon Kern.
Kern, the left-handed hitting catcher, is hitting a scorching .471 with a home run and 44 runs batted in, while Proctor leads the team with a .516 average to go along with eight homers and an incredible 67 RBIs and 26 doubles.
The right side of the infield features a pair of Marietta Tigers in Eli Lenington (.357, 27 RBI, 54 runs scored) at first and Jordan Satterfield (.256, 15RBI) at second.
Proctor will man the hot corner and Engle is hoping to have Jake Ullman (.388, HR, 16 RBI) back healthy and at shortstop for the tournament opener after the Belpre Golden Eagle missed the past few games with a shoulder injury.
The outfield more than likely will feature Belpre's Wes Hatfield (.379, HR, 10 RBI) in left, Marietta's Tim Grosel (.329, 4 HR, 18 RBI) in center and Ohio Valley University's Clay Ullman (.434, HR, 49 RBI) in right field.
Engle has several capable candidates to chose from for the designated hitter spot, including Austin Campbell (.394), Justin Futrell (.372), Nick Spurr (.263) and Warren's Ethan Estes (.409, 17 RBI) who is also recovering from an injury.
This year's tournament will feature only four teams, including one that appears will be a combination of the Zanesville and Dresden teams.
Post 389/750 owns an 8-0 record against the teams it will face in the tourney and has outscored them by a combined 67-10 margin.
Beverly/Lowell will open the tournament against St. Clairsville Post 159, a team that it swept in a double header from early in the season at 1 p.m with Zanesville/Dresden Post 29/399 taking on Cambridge Post 84 in Sunday's night cap.