Area 5 Legion tourney to begin today

ELKINS – The road to the American Legion State Tournament will get underway today with the Area 5 Tournament being held at Robin Harvey Memorial Field.

In the opening round of the double-elimination tournament, No. 2- seed Buckhannon Post 7 (7-10) is scheduled to face third-seed Preston County Post 56 (4-10) at 6 p.m.

Elkins Post 29 finished the season with a 29-8 record and 6-0 mark in Area 5 play to earn the top seed in the tournament. Post 29 will play at 5 p.m. Thursday against the winner of today’s game.

Elkins picked up a forfeit win over Summersville Post 131 in the opening round.

“We’ve got 10 players that were on the roster when we won the state championship in 2012,” Elkins manager Chris George said. “They’ve all stepped up this season and really shown their experience. They’ve been battle tested and they’ve found ways to win, more times than not. They are ready, but they have to play hard and earn it. Nothing is going to be handed to them.”

On the mound, Tyler Scott finished the season with a 5-0 mark. He pitched 29 1/3 innings with an ERA of 1.84 and 22 strikeouts.

Isaac Riggleman also had an outstanding campaign on the mound, finishing the season with a 5-1 record. He pitched 47 1/3 innings, with an ERA of 3.80 and 44 strike outs.

“We are very deep in pitching this year,” George said. “We have a very deep staff. The first thing I do when I recruit players, I want to make sure I get premium pitchers, first and fore most. We also had good pitching from the bullpen. Our team era is 3.67. “

Offensively, Colby Gainer and Daniel Crawford will lead the charge for Elkins. Gainer finished the season with a .440 average, along with 48 hits, 37 RBIs, 29 runs scored and eight stolen bases. Crawford batted .397 with 31 hits, 31 runs scored, nine RBIs and seven stolen bases.

“Colby is our three-spot hitter,” George said. “He did good all year driving the ball, getting hits and not striking out much. He’s been a leader all year.

“Daniel is our table setter at the top of the line up. He’s got good speed and gets on base. He’s been quite a surprise for a younger player,” George said.

Elkins will look to Philip Barbour High School product Chance Price to provide power in the lineup. Along with three home runs and a .383 batting average, Price finished the season with 41 hits, 40 RBIs, 33 runs scored and seven stolen bases.

“He’s got a good natural swing,” George said.

“He’s done a good job in the middle of our lineup, driving in runs when we need them. He’s a very clutch hitter.”

Speedster Al Johnson, another PBHS graduate, nabbed 14 stolen bases on the season. He finished the campaign with a .443 average, along with 47 hits, 44 runs scored and 26 RBIs.

“His speed is why he leads the team in hitting,” George said. “He causes havoc on the base paths. He’s able to beat out bunts and singles that others wouldn’t.”

Other team members include: Owen Arbogast, Sean Curtis, Wes Felton, Silas Gibson, Brandon Hamons, Dylan Harris, Jared Kerns, P.J. Lanham, Jacob Marsh, Kevin McDermott, Chris Neville, Sam Ross, Tyler Shreve, Doug Smith and Jake Wyatt.

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