A year ago, Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 coasted to the state tournament, in large part because of a dominating pitching staff.
Kordell Antill and Zach Eddy formed one of the best one-two pitching punches in the state. The No. 3 guy in that rotation was left-hander Evan Sawyer.
With Eddy no longer with the club and Antill battling injuries, Sawyer, a first team all-district selection this spring for the Marietta Tigers, has stepped up and filled the role of "ace of the staff" for the Todd Engle-coached squad.
Times file photo
Beverly/Lowell’s Evan Sawyer fires a pitch during a game earlier this season.
In eight appearances, Sawyer has posted a 4-3 record with an earned run average of 2.18. The southpaw has struck out 46 batters, walked 12 and surrendered just 14 earned runs in 45 innings pitched this summer. He has tossed three complete games.
"Sawyer's pitched well for us all year," said Engle following a 4-3 win over St. Marys earlier this season.
A prototypical "crafty" left-hander, Sawyer does not throw extremely hard but has pinpoint control and good off-speed stuff. When he's on, he does a good job of keeping hitters off-balance.
For a Post 389/750 team that has sputtered at times offensively, it has been pivotal for the pitching staff to be at the top its game. Sawyer has done that and then some.
He has established himself as the go-to guy on the mound for Engle and pitching coach Steve Riley, as he will get the ball in Beverly/Lowell's opening game in the district tournament Wednesday against Cambridge.
It won't be the first time Sawyer will be on the hill in a big game.
Last season, the lefty got the starting nod in game one of the state tournament against Wayne County. Sawyer pitched well, giving up just two runs in five innings, but suffered the loss as Beverly/Lowell was unable to push any runs across the plate.
Fast-forward to this spring when Marietta traveled to Waverly for a Division II sectional final contest, Tiger co-head coaches Larry Burke and Jim Thrash turned to Sawyer with the season on the line. Again, Sawyer was on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat, despite going the distance.
He has proven that he can keep his team in ballgames. The key for Post 389/750 will be providing run support.
B/L is 18-17 on the year, and is looking to get past district and advance on to state for the second year in a row. Sawyer's presence on the mound should have a big impact on whether or not that happens.