Post 29 preps for state tourney

ELKINS – After capturing its eighth straight Area 5 American Legion title, Elkins Post 29 will now prepare for state tournament action this week at West Virginia University’s Hawley Field.

Post 29 (31-8) punched its ticket to state competition by defeating Buckhannon, 14-9, in?Friday’s Area 5 championship contest. Elkins will face Area 3 champion South Charleston at noon Wednesday in first-round action.

“We have to work on some things before the state tourney begins,” Post 29 manager Chris George said. “We had way too many errors in the (Area 5) tournament.

“You can’t make those mistakes at the state tournament.”

Al Johnson and Colby Gainer will lead Elkins into state tourney play. Johnson, a Philip Barbour High School product, is batting a team-high .448 and also leads the team with 48 runs scored.

Gainer, meanwhile, tops the squad in RBIs with 43 and is tied with Chance Price in homers with three. The Elkins High grad is also batting at a .441 clip.

Daniel Crawford has emerged as dangerous lead-off man, batting nearly .400 with 10 stolen bases and 34 runs scored.

Price, Doug Smith and Kevin McDermott are others hitting over .300 at the plate.

The pitching staff has been anchored by Isaac Riggleman, Colby Gainer and Tyler Scott. Riggleman, an EHS grad and Davis &?Elkins College signee, earned the victory in the deciding game of the Area 5 tourney and has compiled a mark of 6-1 with an ERA of 3.78 and 52 strikeouts.

Gainer carries a mark of 4-1 into the state tourney, with 35 strikeouts and a 4.67 ERA, while Scott is 5-0 in 31 innings pitched with 23 strikeouts. Tygarts Valley’s Owen Arbogast, Silas Gibson and Pocahontas County High School’s Brandon Hamons are other arms to watch.