American Legion Baseball: B/L tops Toronto

TORONTO – The road warriors continued their march through Jefferson County.

Beverly/Lowell scored an unearned run in the top of the 10th inning to earn a 7-6 victory over Toronto in a wild-and-wacky affair Wednesday evening at the Knight Baseball Complex.

Post 389/750 jumped out to a 6-2 lead before Post 86 plated four runs over three innings to eventually send the game into extra innings.

“We played well,” Toronto (3-12) head coach Steve Sninchak said. “We just had a couple of miscues and a couple of walks that hurt us, but we kept battling. We outhit them. We kept plugging away. There was no quit in them. We have been playing that way for the last week-and-a-half, two weeks.”

The game was Beverly/Lowell’s second game in 24 hours in Jefferson County. Tuesday, Beverly-Lowell defeated Steubenville, 6-2, at Vaccaro Field.

“It was a very-interesting game,” Beverly/Lowell head coach Todd Engle said about his team’s win over Toronto. “We played at Steubenville yesterday. We had a two-hour trip up here, and I knew our kids were going to be lethargic in the beginning.

“I thought we played well offensively yesterday, but today I thought we threw away some at-bats but you have to give credit to their pitchers. They are a good team. They are well coached. Their kids compete. We were probably fortunate to come out on top.”

Ben Barnas, who was Post 389/750s fourth pitcher, recorded the win. Barnas struck out three while not walking a batter in two innings of work.

Dustin Duffy started the game for the victors. Duffy also struck out three while not issuing a free pass in five innings. Jordan Hill pitched the next two innings. He did not record a strikeout or a walk. Phillip Hoffman, who will be entering 9th grade in the fall, pitched the eighth inning. Hoffman did not record a strikeout while walking two.

“This is our 20th game, and we were able to get back to .500,” Engle said. “We have played an extremely tough schedule. Our team is not a team that has had many breaks. We are going to continue to get better.

“We are a young team. There is a lot of youth there. Our third pitcher, he is just 14 years-old. I had to see how he would respond. We are trying some new things.

“Their outfielders made some nice catches. They deserved a better fate than a loss.”

Nate Stewart took the loss. Stewart struck out two and walked one in 4 2/3 innings of work in relief of starter Logan Allen. Allen, who pitched 5 1/3 innings, recorded four strikeouts and five walks during his time on the hill.

Neither team played a clean game in the field. Beverly/Lowell committed two errors, while Toronto committed six errors, including one one a throwing error in the 10th that led to the game-winning run being scored.

“We just came up short,” Sninchak said. “They are a good team over there. Our kids were focused. We just had some miscues and some walks. I think we outhit them. We hit the ball well. It was a good ballgame.”

After keeping Post 389/750 off of the scoreboard in the top of the first, Post 86 plated a run in the bottom half of the frame to take an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Justin Mavromatis.

After two walks and an error in the second, Devin Leister doubled home a pair of runs giving the visitors a 2-1 advantage.

The victors added to their lead two more runs in the fifth on a two-run single by Ethan Estes.

Toronto tallied a run in the bottom half of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Billy Solomon to pull within 4-2.

Post 389/750 regained control of the game by plating a pair of runs for the second-straight inning in the sixth. The second run of the inning proved to be costly for Toronto.

With one out, Leister drew a bases-loaded walk to make the score 5-2, and Hoffman stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter for DH Mitch Minder. Hoffman hit a groundball up the middle. The Toronto defender stepped on second base for the force out, but instead of throwing to first to complete the double play, the Post 86 fielder ran down the Post 389/750 player, who was running to third. The runner was eventually tagged out short of the base, but the runner from third was able to score on the play to make the score 6-2.

Toronto scored one in the fourth and fifth innings to make it 6-4.

The hosts tied it with two in the eighth as Romey plated a run with a groundout and Lane scored on a wild pitch by Hoffman.

After a scoreless ninth inning, Beverly-Lowell tallied an unearned run in the 10th.

“I love coming up here,” Engle said. “I love playing at Vaccaro Field and at Toronto. The kids enjoy it. It is a great environment. The fields are pristine. The crowd is knowledgeable. They root for their team. They are respectable. I love playing up here. I would play more games here if I could.”

Beverly-Lowell returns to its field at 10 a.m. Saturday in a doubleheader against St. Clairsville.

Toronto visits Richmond at 6 p.m. today.

“Richmond is always tough,” Sninchak said. “Hopefully, we can keep playing like we have been playing when we go out there.”