BABE RUTH’s BEST
ELKINS – Caleb Riggleman drove in four runs Saturday to help Elkins defeat Beckley, 15-1, to claim the Babe Ruth 15-year-old state championship Saturday at Robin Harvey Memorial Field.
Elkins will now advance to the Ohio Valley Regional Tournament scheduled for July 24 in Marinette, Wis.
“The kids played well,” Elkins coach Jack Crumm said. “It was a good tournament for us. It was very impressive for me to see the way they bonded and came out to play baseball. It was impressive to watch.”
Thanks to the 10-run mercy rule, the Elkins team played a combined 15 innings during the three games of the tournament. They scored 50 runs on 48 hits, while allowing only six runs and committing one error.
“They are focused,” Crumm said. “I’m excited to see what we can do when we go to Wisconsin. Last year, we made it to the semifinal round. This year, we’ve got better hitting and we’re playing better defense. They’ve really come together as a team. They believe they have a shot to do something special and I feel they may be right. We’ve got a special bunch. When they come to play, they’re tough to beat.”
Blake Loftis pitched five innings to earn the victory. He struck out five batters, while giving up two hits and one run. At the plate, he went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Riggleman led Elkins at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, two runs scored and four RBIs. Matt Wilson went 2 for 4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Kyle Riggleman went 2 for 3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Antonio Leopardi took the loss for Beckley.
Elkins is scheduled to play a team from Northern Indiana at 3:30 p.m. on July 24. The squad will then play Southern Illinois at 10:30 a.m. and Ohio at 3 p.m., both on July 25.
Following pool play, the teams will be ranked and compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine who goes on to compete in the Babe Ruth League World Series.