by Frank Aceto
Associate Sports Editor
Tallmadge -- Over the last three weeks, the Tallmadge baseball team has fallen on hard times.
Heck, it has been a forgettable season for the Blue Devils pretty much since the beginning of April.
But Tallmadge seems to understand one thing better than most teams.
The Blue Devils are built for the postseason.
Host Tallmadge advanced to Division II district play after posting a 6-1 victory over fifth-seeded Field May 16 at Dave Young Field.
Despite their struggles during the regular season, the Blue Devils turned it up a notch when they needed it most.
"Traditionally, this program plays well during this time of the year," Tallmadge head coach Kenny Linn said. "We talked about that during the off-season. It's a different situation and the kids have shown a very good mentality. Our senior captains have stayed positive."
The Blue Devils took the lead in the first inning and never gave it up. More importantly, they also had their senior ace right-hander on the mound.
Jason Beaumont pitched a complete-game five-hitter. He finished with 11 strikeouts, while issuing just one walk and hitting two batters.
Beaumont was particularly impressive under duress. The Falcons finished just 1 for 11 with runners on base.
"Jason stepped it up and that's what you want from your senior captain," Linn said. "That's what senior aces do."
Field scored its only run in the third inning. Beaumont threw 114 pitches in seven innings of work.
"He was dominant," Falcons head coach Joe Peterson said. "He threw harder than most pitchers we've seen and all the credit goes to him."
Beaumont also got some help from his defense. The Blue Devils turned two doubles plays to kill any chance of momentum for Field.
"Other than the one error, our defense did really well," Linn said. "Our defense has shown the capability to play well."
Right-hander Tristan Sprague took the loss for the Falcons. He pitched into the fifth before being relieved by left-hander Adam Demyan, who finished the game.
The Blue Devils got on the board in the bottom of the first.
Conor McVey got things started with a one-out bunt single and went to second base on a walk to John Rensel.
Matt Noel followed with a run-scoring single to right to give Tallmadge a 1-0 lead.
The Blue Devils got three more runs in the second.
After back-to-back singles by Tyler Duben and Bill Woods, Chris Gray smacked a two-run double toward the fence in left-center. Gray, who finished with three hits and two runs scored, eventually made it 4-0 when he scored on a wild pitch.
Field got on the board in the top of the third.
After Jarrett Troutman was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a passed ball, Alex Bower drove him home with a single to left.
But that was all for the Falcons.
Tallmadge added a run when Gray hit a single and eventually scored on an infield error in the fourth.
The Blue Devils scored an unearned run in the fifth. Once again, it was Gray who did the damage as he made it 6-1 with a run-scoring double to right-center.
Tallmadge finished with 10 hits and one error. Field finished with four errors.
If there was one sour note to the Blue Devils' performance, it was this: Tallmadge finished just 3 of 16 with runners in scoring position.
"We have been working on our mental approach," Linn said. "We just need to relax."