Bedford hangs on for big win over Lebanon

With his team’s lead quickly diminishing, Bedford Post 54 coach Tim Conway did what any reasonable manager would do – he turned to his ace.

Grayson Jennings shut the door in the ninth inning, fending off Lebanon and helping Bedford to a dramatic 9-8 victory on Sunday night at Riley Field.

Lebanon had already rallied an inning earlier, cutting a five-run deficit to one. Following his bullpen’s struggles in the eighth, Conway turned to his best pitcher to close the game. Jennings struck out the first batter of the ninth, but proceeded to walk the next two. The team’s starting second baseman eventually found his control, striking out the final two batters.

“We had to go back to our ace,” Conway said. “That was a tough spot to come into and he struck out the side. He did a heck of a job.”

Kyle Anderson got the start for Bedford (11-5), allowing four runs in seven innings of work. The righty allowed six hits and four walks while striking out six. His outing had the potential to be even better, however a dropped foul ball in the fourth inning ultimately led to two extra Lebanon runs.

“He had a great game,” Conway said. “He did everything we needed him to do and he threw another good one.”

The Bedford offense got to Lebanon starter Rohan Kumar immediately, knocking him out of the game in the second inning.

Even with a new pitcher, Post 54 continued stroking the ball. Bedford scored in each of the first three innings, taking an early 5-1 lead.

Lebanon (12-2) managed to cut the deficit to one, but Bedford responded with a big fifth inning. Bedford’s Justin Mickelson nearly crushed a ball out of the ballpark, setting the stage for a four-run frame.

The Bedford offense finished with 14 hits and five walks. Tyler O’Brien led the way offensively for Bedford, collecting four hits to go along with a run and RBI. Mickelson finished with three hits and a pair of RBIs while teammates Brett Veilleux and Mike Kernan finished with two runs apiece. Every member of Bedford’s starting lineup reach based at least once and contributed at least an RBI or run scored.

“We hit the ball well,” Conway said. “We were patient and then aggressive when we needed to be.”