Elkins state tournament hopes dashed by Martinsburg

SOUTH CHARLESTON – Elkins’ run in the 11-12-year-old Little League tournament came to an end on Thursday as Martinsburg claimed a 15-5 victory in quarterfinal action at Little Creek Park.

Elkins, which didn’t allow a hit and only one run in two pool play contests, surrendered 10 hits, including three homers, to the hot-hitting Martinsburg squad.

“Martinsburg is a very good team,” Elkins manager Jim Gainer said. “They hit the ball very well against us and we were forced to play behind the entire game after the first inning.

“You really have to play your best against good teams like Martinsburg and we had some early mistakes that cost us.”

Martinsburg took control early, putting up seven runs in the bottom of the first inning. Isaac Brown led off by reaching on an error and later scored on another Elkins miscue. A walk to Kyle Farmer was followed by a two-run homer by Mikey Jackson to make it 3-0.

A bases-loaded walk to Hunter Reedy made it 4-0 before Brown came to the plate for the second time in the inning and cleared the bases with a triple down the left-field line.

Elkins answered in the bottom of the inning when Read Schumacher led off with a single and later trotted home on another single by Beau Bright.

Both teams went scoreless in the second inning before the Martinsburg bats once again erupted in the third. Farmer cracked a two-run homer in the frame, while Garrett Hobson crossed another with a single and Aaron Pierson made it 12-1 on a fielder’s choice RBI.

Elkins got back into the game in a big way in the bottom of the inning as Thomas Talkington drew a walk, Schumacher singled and Bright reached on a fielder’s choice. Jessie Williams then followed with a deep homer over the right-center field fence for a grand slam to cut the margin to 12-5.

But Jackson’s second homer of the night, a three-run shot in the fourth, closed the scoring. The game ended after Elkins didn’t score in the bottom of the inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Grant Harman earned the win for Martinsburg in two-plus innings of action. He allowed one run on three hits, struck out three and walked one.

Williams, Schumacher and Matthew Gainer all saw time on the mound for Elkins, which entered the single-elimination format of the tourney as the Pool B champions, defeating Bridgeport and Pineville along the way.

“We had a very good tournament,” Jim Gainer said. “There’s a lot of talented players on this team and they will do well wherever they play next season. We just didn’t play our best baseball today and you have to give Martinsburg a lot of credit.”

Martinsburg will play Fairmont at 6 p.m. today in a semifinal contest. Fairmont defeated St. Albans to advance.

The championship game is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday with the winner advancing to regional play in Georgia on Aug. 1.