CHARLESTON — It has been said that nothing in this life comes for free.
And for the most part, that is a true statement.
But on Friday afternoon in the Great Lakes Regional, the Beverly-Lowell baseball team out of Ohio were gifted 10 free baserunners and seven of them scored as they handed the Danville Post 210 Speakers a 16-15 defeat at Coaches Stadium.
“Walks is what beat us,’’ said Danville manager Allan Shepherd. “We’ve had games wehre we have been able to overcome a lot of walks, but we knew if we did it here, it would come back to bite us.’’
And it did.
Beverly-Lowell, the top scoring team in the Great Lakes Regional, averaging 12.7 runs per game, seemingly capitalized on every free pass issued to them in the contest.
The walks were especially damaging to the Post 210 pitchers in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
And in the third and fifth inning, it was a leadoff walk in the frame after Danville had taken the lead.
“We would get a lead and instead of pitching with the lead and pounding the zone, we were outside of it and they capitalize,’’ Shepherd said. “And if we didn’t walk them, they would hit it when we threw down the middle of the zone.’’
Beverly-Lowell scored seven runs in the third on just two singles, and five of its seven runs scored on bases-loaded walks.
“Any time, you walk that many guys, it’s going to be tough to win,’’ said Danville first baseman Chase Vinson, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. “But, we were still with them until the end and we just came up a little short.
“It was definitely a shootout.’’
Actually, Vinson took some of the blame for the Speakers coming up short in the later innings.
Danville loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth for Vinson.
Beverly-Lowell pitcher Conner Counterman, who picked up the victory, got Vinson to ground out to end the threat. It was first scoreless inning for either team since the second, when both teams failed to score.
“He threw me two changeups,’’ Vinson said. “I have to have a better approach in that situation. If I could have gotten a hit there, that would have us some momentum.
“That was a big part in the game.’’
Danville’s Chase Rademacher was in a position to post a zero in the bottom half of the sixth, but back-to-back two-out singles up the middle for Beverly-Lowell from catcher Clayton Cook ans Seth Dennis gave the Ohio state champions a 16-15 advantage.
“Today wasn’t our day,’’ said Danville shortstop Ernest Plummer. “Hopefully, (today) and Sunday will be.
“We need to bounce back.’’
Post 210 did get a leadoff walk from third baseman Logan Spicer, who 2-for-3 with two RBIs, to start the seventh but Beverly-Lowell reliever Brett Gandee, who hit a 2-run pinch-hit homer in the 4th inning, struck out Trevor Davis and Lucas Hofer and he then got Jake Stipp to fly out to center to end the game. Those were only the second and third strikeouts in the game for Danville.
“Fifteen runs should be enough to win any game for us,’’ Shepherd said. “If we score 15 runs again, I’m very confident that we will be on the right side of the outcome.’’
Vinson thought that Danville, which left five runners in scoring position, could have even scored more.
“We scored a lot of runs, but we should have scored more,’’ he said. “I don’t think we took advantage of all of the opportunities we had.’’
And the biggest problem might have been playing with a lead.
Danville scored five times in the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. Beverly-Lowell responded with a 7-run bottom of the third, making it 8-6.
Post 210 came back with thee runs in the fourth to take a 9-8 lead. Beverly-Lowell answered with 4 runs in the bottom of the fourth, to retake the lead at 12-9.
Finally in the fifth, the Speakers scored six times and had a 15-12 lead. Beverly-Lowell tied it at 15-15 with a 3-run bottom of the fifth.
Every team talks about winning the inning and Beverly-Lowell won two out of three in that stretch, and the Ohio state champions went on to win the sixth and the contest.
“When we took the lead, we got way too comfortable,’’ Plummer said. “Today didn’t turn out how we wanted, but we still got a chance.’’
In the double-elimination format, Danville, with one loss, will play Gladwin County from Michigan, who also has one loss, in an elimination game at 11:30 a.m. today.
While Beverly-Lowell will face Swoyersville (Pa.) in another game. Swoyersville, which has one loss, must win, while Beverly-Lowell advances to Sunday’s championship with either a win or a loss.