A strong pitching effort from Colby Gainer allowed Elkins to take the driver's seat in the Class AAA, Region II, Section 3 tourney with a 5-3 victory over Hampshire Wednesday at the Elkins High School Field.
The 14-10 Tigers need one victory today against the 21-3 Trojans, who are ranked second in the state, to capture the sectional crown. The first game will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Romney and another contest will follow if necessary.
"Winning this first game was huge," Elkins coach Adam Roth said. "They're going to be coming after us (today), so we need to come out with our best effort and see what happens."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Andrew Davis
Elkins’ Colby Gainer throws a pitch against Hampshire Wednesday in sectional play at Elkins High School. Gainer allowed just five hits in the Tigers’ 5-3 win.
Gainer helped put the Tigers in prime position by allowing just five hits in a complete-game effort. He struck out six and walked just two.
"Colby really pitched well," Roth said. "I thought he got stronger as the game went on."
Hampshire took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning as Matt Maiers reached on a single and later scored on a error.
Elkins answered with three runs in the bottom of the third inning as Silas Gibson's RBI single plated Tyler Shreve and Clayton Collett scored on a error on the right fielder.
Jake Wyatt added a run-producing single to plate Gibson to make it 3-1.
A solo homer by Josh Crawford over the right-field fence brought the visitors to within one run.
Elkins added two more runs on the board in the bottom of fifth inning on Garrett Riggleman's two-run double that scored Gibson and Cameron Clarkson.
The Trojans scored one more in the top of the sixth inning as Ethan Turner's single plated Seth Brooks.
Shane Ennis took the loss for Hampshire in six innings of work. He gave up four earned runs on three hits, walked four and struck out nine.
"We took advantage of some of their mistakes," Roth said. "We got some hits when we needed them and that scored us some runs."