Driver’s Seat

ELKINS – Elkins Post 29’s Brandon Hamons was doing his part on the mound against Preston County during Thursday’s Area 5 tournament matchup.

His teammates finally joined in on the act with their bats in the fifth inning, erupting for six runs to break a scoreless deadlock in Post 29’s 8-0 victory at Robin Harvey Memorial Field.

The victory puts Elkins (30-8) into today’s championship game at 4 p.m. against Buckhannon, which stayed alive in the tournament by eliminating Preston County, 13-8, in Thursday’s late game. If Post 7 wins today’s first game, a second title game will follow.

“Brandon pitched a very good game for us,” Post 29 manager Chris George said. “He shut them down and had good velocity on his pitches the entire night.”

Hamonds, a Pocahontas County High School product, struck out 10 and allowed just five singles in eight innings of action. He walked just two. Silas Gibson pitched the ninth, surrendering one hit and striking out one.

Post 56’s Shane Wiles allowed just one base runner through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth.

After retiring the first two batters, Jake Wyatt started the Post 29 rally with a double and advanced to third on an error on the play. P.J. Lanham then drew a walk and Kevin McDermott, who was 3 for 4 in the game, followed with a single to plate Wyatt with the first run of the game.

An RBI single by Daniel Crawford and a two-run single by Al Johnson extended the lead to 4-0. Colby Gainer then cracked a two-run homer to complete the scoring in the frame.

McDermott added a run-producing single in the sixth and Gainer a solo blast in the seventh.

“We finally got our offense going in the fifth inning,” George said. “We had some key hits with two outs and a lot of different players contributed.”

Crawford, Johnson, Gainer and Wyatt added two hits apiece for Elkins, which collected 12 safeties in the contest.

T.J. Hare had a pair of hits for Preston County.

Wiles went all eight innings in taking the loss, striking out five and walking two.

In Thursday’s late game, Dalton Westfall tallied five RBIs, including a three-run homer, to lead Buckhannon (8-11) to the win.

Matt Fair and Brandon Newcomb also drove in three runs each for Post 7.

Tyler Shreve went all nine innings to earn the win, allowing eight runs on 10 hits, fanning 10 and walking three.

Saige Cline took the loss in four innings of relief, giving up five runs on six hits, striking out four and walking one.

Logan Menear had three RBIs for Post 56, which ended the season with a 5-12 mark.

The Area 5 champion will advance to the American Legion State Tournament, which begins Wednesday at Hawley Field in Morgantown.