Elkins Post 29 will defend its state title after defeating Buckhannon 10-0 Friday night to capture the Area 5 American Legion tournament at Robin Harvey Memorial Field.
The victory gives Post 29 a 25-19 mark and a berth in next week's state tournament at Hawley Field in Morgantown. Elkins will play its first game at noon on Wednesday against the Area 4 champion.
Pitching ruled the day again for Post 29 as Colby Gainer threw a two-hit shutout over six innings and recorded 12 strikeouts.
The Inter-Mountain photos by Joey Kittle
Elkins Post 29’s Al Johnson dives back into first base as Buckhannon’s Corey Reed takes the throw from pitcher Dalton Westfall during the American Legion Area 5 title game Friday night at Robin Harvey Memorial Field. Elkins won the game, 10-0, and will play in the state tournament next week at Hawley Field in Morgantown.
The two hits surrendered were a double by Drew Gandee to start the second inning and a single issued to Dalton Crislip in the sixth.
Post 7's Dalton Westfall had a good start on the mound as well, holding Elkins hitless and recording three strikeouts in the first two innings.
However, Post 29's bats came alive in the bottom of the third.
Silas Gibson led off with a single followed by Brennan Dettinger being hit-by-a-pitch. After Tyler Shreve drew a walk, Cody Gainer smacked a deep single scoring Gibson and Dettinger. Colby Gainer then cleared the bases with a home run into the left-center field netting.
The inning continued as Chance Price singled and Doug Smith reached on an error. Price was eventually walked in and Smith scored on a fielder's choice.
Post 29 scored twice in both the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Cody Gainer led off with a single and Colby Gainer brought him in with an RBI double. Colby Gainer took third base on a wild pitch and scored when he tagged up on a ball hit to center field by Smith.
Issac Kemper came in to relieve Westfall on the mound in the bottom of the fifth for Post 7.
Gibson led off with a single but was later put out on a fielder's choice hit into by Shreve. It was now Cody Gainer's turn and he blasted the ball high over the center-field fence for two more RBIs
Tyler Scott took over for Colby Gainer on the mound for Elkins in the seventh inning and retired the side in order, striking out the last two Buckhannon batters.
The game ended then due to the 10-run mercy rule.
"Once again we had outstanding pitching," Elkins general manager Chris George said. "That's really been our strength this year. Our pitchers had 14 strikeouts tonight and 30 in the last two games."
George has been pleased with the play of his squad entering state tournament action. Elkins has not lost in early two weeks.
"We're starting to make better contact at the plate," George said. "We've played our best ball in the past two-and-a-half weeks and we'll need that in state tournament play."