Beckley tops Elkins for title
Raleigh County squad captures 12-11 victory in eight innings
ELKINS — Two runs in the eighth inning proved to be the difference as Beckley captured the 15-year-old Babe Ruth state championship with a 12-11 win over Elkins Sunday at Robin Harvey Memorial Field.
Faced with the stern test of having to win two games just to get into Sunday’s winner-take-all contest, Beckley downed Huntington 3-2 in its first game on Saturday and followed that with a 9-2 victory over Elkins later in the evening.
Elkins had defeated Beckley, 13-10, on Friday night.
With the win, Beckley advances to regional play in Eauclaire, Wisconsin.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Beckley manager Antonio Leopardi said. “We got put in a tough spot after losing that first night, but our kids put it together and played as a family all weekend. They battled as a team and I’m excited to see what we can do in Wisconsin.”
Beckley stormed out to the early lead in Sunday’s deciding contest and held a 7-3 cushion entering the fourth inning before Elkins crossed five runs to take an 8-7 advantage.
The visitors answered with a run in the top of the fifth inning to tie the contest at 8-8, but Elkins came right back with two more runs in home-half of the inning to go in front, 10-8.
Beckley came right back with two runs in its very next at bat in the sixth inning to tie the game again, this time at 10 apiece.
Neither team could manage to cross the winning run in the seventh, but Beckley struck gold in the first inning of extras when Cooper Vaught drew a base-on-balls to lead off the eighth inning.
One out later, Colton Tate singled to right field and a fielding miscue allowed Vaught to score the go-ahead run. Tate later scored on and groundout from Micah Clay to make it 12-10.
Elkins fought back in the bottom of the eighth inning as Opie Dudley led off with a single. After stealing second base and reaching third on a wild pitch, Dudley scampered home on a sacrifice fly from Cody Cooper to make it 12-11.
One out later and with Elkins down to its final out, Jayden Herron kept it going with a base hit to center field. After stealing second base, Herron attempted to swipe third several pitches later, but was called out on a close play to end the game.
Tyler Reed earned the win for Beckley in 3 1/3 innings of relief work. Logan Williams, Tyler Mackey, Clay and Tate all had two hits each to lead Beckley at the plate.
Paden Haney took the loss for Elkins in three innings of relief. Dudley had a big day at the dish for the hosts, finishing with four hits and three runs scored. Haney, Chungo Shreve and Miles Hutzler followed with two hits each.