ELKINS – Isaac Riggleman fanned eight batters Friday to help Elkins Post 29 defeat Buckhannon Post 7, 14-9, and capture the team’s eighth consecutive Area 5 Championship.
Elkins (31-8) will now move on to the American Legion State Tournament, slated to begin on Wednesday at Hawley Field, located on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. The game time and opponent had not been announced at press time.
“The guys came out with a good mental attitude,” Elkins manager Chris George said. “We had a good game plan and the kids executed it. We got off our game a little bit during the middle innings. We got out to a big lead early and I think it caused us to loose our mental approach. We made way, way too many errors. That’s something we definitely have to address before we begin the state tournament.”
Riggleman (6-1) pitched five innings to earn the victory. He gave up four runs on seven hits and did not issue a walk.
Dalton Westfall took the loss for Buckhannon. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs on four hits.
Elkins got on the scoreboard early, scoring eight runs in the first two innings. Five of the runs were scored on errors. Al Johnson also singled to drive in a run in the second inning. He finished the game 3 for 5 with a double, an RBI and two stolen bases.
Buckhannon battled back, scoring two runs in the second inning. Logan Skinner drove in one run and Branden Newcome scored on an error.
In the third inning, Colby Gainer hit a two-run home run to put Elkins up, 10-2. He finished the game 2 for 5 with three RBIs and two steals.
Elkins picked up two more runs in the fifth inning on an RBI single from Gainer and a sacrifice fly from Chance Price. At the plate, Price went 2 for 3 with an RBI and two stolen bases.
Buckhannon pushed two runs across the plate in the fifth inning. Ben Cunningham was hit-by-a- pitch to force in a run and Zane Clevenger scored on a balk by Riggleman.
P.J. Lanham crushed a two-run home run in the sixth inning to help Elkins take a 14-5 advantage.
Buckhannon picked up a run in the sixth inning, when Matt Fair singled to score Westfall.
Buckhannon, which finished the season 8-12, added four more runs in the eighth inning.