Elkins advances to title game

Elkins made the most of its hits and turned in a solid defensive effort to cruise past Huntington Southeastern 14-1 Monday night in Babe Ruth 15-year-old state tournament action at Robin Harvey Memorial Field.

The victory put Elkins, 3-0 in tournament play, in the championship game at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. It will face the survivor from today’s elimination games.

Both teams were held scoreless through the first two innings before Elkins blew the game open with five runs in the third and nine more in the fourth to end the game early due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Cole Harlan’s RBI single plated the game’s first run for Elkins, while P.J. Lanham followed with another run-producing single to make it 2-0.

After Lanham trotted home on a wild pitch, a costly error scored two more runs to stretch the margin to 5-0.

Each team had five hits on the evening but Huntington committed four errors, compared to just one by Elkins.

“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Elkins manager Chris Broughton said. “Our boys field the ball when its hit to them, and tonight was no different.

“Being able to play good defense really gives our pitchers confidence to throw strikes because they know we’ll field it and get the out.”

Elkins’ nine-run outburst started with walks to Daniel Crawford and Harlan. Joseph Severino then reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases.

Lanham followed with a single to left to plate two runs, then Ryan Hoffman added another single to make it 8-0.

The big blow of the frame came from the bat of Jordan Schumacher, whose triple to deep centerfield cleared the bases. Elkins tacked on another run on a wild pitch and an error closed the scoring with two runners coming home.

Huntington scored its lone run in the fifth on an RBI single from Jacob Kitchen, who was 2-for-2 on the night.

Jared Kerns went all five innings to earn the win.

“It was a great team win tonight,” Broughton said.

“We hit the ball well, got good pitching and everyone contributed.”

Huntington will face either Beckley or Ceredo-Kenova at 8 p.m. today in the loser’s bracket finale.