ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The team that makes the fewest mistakes in baseball normally prevails.
Such was the case Tuesday evening inside Memorial Park where St. Clairsville Post 159 couldn't overcome eight errors and a few baserunning miscues in dropping a 6-4 decision to Beverly/Lowell Post 329/750 in American Legion Baseball action.
"I thought fundamentally they played sound and made key plays," said St. C. skipper Mike "Chops" Jacob. "It was all about execution and there were times when we had things called and we just couldn't get it done, so hats off to Beverly/Lowell."
Beverly/Lowell’s Jake Ullman slides safely into second base as a St. Clairsville infielder applies a late tag Tuesday night. Beverly/Lowell won 6-4.
Todd Engle-coached Beverly, which never trailed in the game, owned a 4-1 lead going into the seventh inning.
St. Clairsville strung together three consecutive hits to start the inning, but had a runner thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double and a runner retired on a fielder's choice, which left runners on the corners for Eric Banal, who plays his prep ball at Buckeye Local.
Kyler McElfresh, who had pitched exceptionally well until getting himself into a jam in the seventh, fell behind in the count to Banal and left a pitch up in the zone. Banal promptly deposited it well over the left-field fence for a 3-run home run to knot the game.
Beverly/Lowell 001 120 002 - 6 9 4
St. Clairsville 001 000 300 - 4 8 8
Batteries: McElfresh, Barnes (9) and Smith. Nippert, Hamilton (9) and Curtin.
The game stayed tied until the top of the ninth when Beverly scored its first runs since the fifth off St. C. righty Logan Nippert, who deserved a better fate for as well as he pitched throughout the game.
After talented St. C. centerfielder Malik Gummer made a full-extension, diving catch to begin the inning, Beverly/Lowell first baseman Justin Hill singled.
Jordan Satterfield then reached on the seventh error committed by Post 159. After an out was recorded on the infield, Jacob went to his pen and brought in Dylan Hamilton. A throwing error on an attempted pick-off play allowed Hill to score. Lead-off hitter Ethan Estes then singled in Satterfield.
In the home half of the ninth, Beverly/Lowell brought in hard-throwing pitcher Ben Barnes, who allowed a runner to reach, with one out, on an error, but worked around it with two strike outs to end the game.
"They took advantage of some things on the base paths and we didn't help them much (defensively)," Jacob said. "We're still growing, but we understand we have to get better. We also understand that, in close games like this, when your bats aren't where they need to be, you have to be solid defensively."
Along with Banal's production, St. Clairsville's offense received a double off the fence by Bailey McGrath, a RBI single from Hunter Westlake and two singles by catcher Dillon Curtin.
While producing one hit at the plate, Gummer was all over the place in centerfield. He recorded eight put outs, including two diving catches, and two assists. He threw a runner out at home and also a doubled a runner off first.
Beverly/Lowell, meanwhile, received two singles and a RBI from Estes. Devin Leister had a RBI single, while Lance Schagfez had a double and a single.
St. Clairsville is now 4-4 on the season, while Beverly-Lowell improves to 5-11.