BOSTON — With first place on the line, the Berean Free Presbyterian Church softball team took on rival Hamburg Assembly of God on July 25, for the teams’ second meeting of the season. Looking to avoid consecutive losses, for the first time all year, Berean went to bat first, leading off with Aaron Breindel, who started the game with a base hit. He scored later in the inning, as did Drew Payne, to double the team’s early lead to 2 – 0, before Steve Salisbury’s hit was caught, for the final out of the half-inning.
The HAG team countered, in the bottom of the inning, with 3 runs – all coming with two outs on the board – to take the lead into the second. In that inning, Eric Drake and Mike Sargeant scored, to regain the 2-run lead and shut HAG down, in the bottom of the inning, for a 4 – 3 lead, after two. Berean’s steady offense continued, in the third, where Payne came home on an out-of-the-park homerun by Scott Overhoff – a first in team history – to hold a 6 – 3 lead, before going into the bottom of the third, when the Hamburg church managed 1 run, by Jake Klepfer.
In the fourth inning, the Boston church saw its grip on the game, and first place in the division, begin to loosen. Berean was outscored 4 – 0 in the fourth inning and saw its lead vanish. Now trailing 8 – 6, in the fifth inning, the team from Boston managed runs from Breindel and Payne to tie the game, but HAG answered with one of its own, to hold a slim 9 – 8 edge, going into the final stages.
In the top of the sixth, Drake, Sargeant and Brett Moody all came home, to put the road team up 11 – 9. However, the game slipped away, in the bottom of the inning, as eight consecutive batters scored for Hamburg. Trailing 17 – 11 in the seventh, Berean sent Payne to the plate, to lead off. He would score in the inning, and Sargeant’s pop fly was caught in center field, to end the game and hand Berean its first losing streak of the season. The final score was 17 – 12.
The teams evened their season record to 1 – 1, though Berean technically won the season series by scoring more runs. Its win on July 8 was by a score of 16 – 7, giving Berean a 28 – 24 edge. The once 4 – 0 and then 8 – 1 church fell to 8 – 3, after holding first place since day one of the season. Boston was all but eliminated from No. 1, after Marilla First Baptist improved to 9 – 2. With one game remaining for both teams, it would take a lopsided win for Berean and a lopsided loss for Marilla, in order for Marilla to relinquish its hold on the division title.
The Boston team took on Big Tree Wesleyan Church, which is ranked 1 – 10, on August 1. Sitting in second place in division three of the Southtowns Church League, Berean has a chance to move up to division two, next season, as the top two teams in the division advance. Berean defeated Big Tree in the teams’ only game against each other this year 14 – 2, on June 20. The final game of the season, for both teams, is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m., at the Hamburg Recreational Department, located at 2982 Lakeview Road in Hamburg.