Huntington rides pitching to win crown
ELKINS — Huntington Southeastern rode its pitching in turning a dominating performance in the Babe Ruth 14-year-old state tournament played at Robin Harvey Memorial field.
The Cabell County squad, which allowed just two runs in three tourney wins, claimed the crown with a 15-0 victory in six innings over the North Central Apostles (Lewis County) in Sunday’s title game.
Braden Shepherd went the distance for Huntington, allowing just two hits and fanning five.
The game was scoreless through two innings before Huntington struck for two runs in the top of the third inning and three more in the fourth to construct a 5-0 lead.
A10-run outburst in the sixth inning ended the game after the bottom of the frame due to the mercy rule.
Austin O’Malley and Hunter Chapman each drove in two runs in the sixth for the winners.
Huntington had nine hits on the day and was led by Jax O’Roark, who was 3 for 3 and scored four runs. Shepherd helped his cause by cracking a pair of safeties.
The Apostles threatened to plate the game’s first runs in the second inning when Wyatt Shears and Colton Hall singled with two outs — the lone hits of the game for North Central.
But Shepherd recorded a strikeout to end the threat. He then set down the side in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings before the Apostles put two runners on board in the sixth on an error and walk.
Huntington had defeated North Central, 7-2, in Saturday’s winner’s bracket contest to reach the finals.
Little Falls (Berkeley County) then eliminated Elkins in the first elimination game, scoring four runs in the seventh inning to post a 5-4 walk-off victory.
Drew Gilpin’s single crossed the winning run.
Elkins erased a 1-0 deficit by plating two runs in each of the fourth and fifth frames.
Noah Armstrong and Peyton Casey cracked RBI singles in the fourth, while two errors, a walk, hit batter and a single from Garrett Gibson sparked the Elkins scoring in the fifth.
Armstrong and Gibson led Elkins with two hits each.
North Central eliminated Little Falls, 10-4, in Saturday’s final game to reach Sunday’s championship contest.
Huntington will host the Ohio Valley Regional 14-year-old tournament, starting on July 25.
North Central also advances as the state runner-up, with Huntington being the host team and automatic qualifier.