PARKERSBURG - Visiting Beckley Post 32 notched a pair of three-run innings, then held off an eighth-inning rally by Parkersburg Post 15 to secure a 7-4 victory in an American Legion Area 3 baseball tournament elimination game Friday night at Bennett Stump Field in City Park.
The loss ended Post 15's season with a 23-14 mark while Beckley, now 16-12-1, will face Area 3 top seed South Charleston Post 94 at 1 p.m. today at Sissonville High School, needing two wins to gain the Area 3 berth in next week's state Legion tournament in Morgantown.
Beckley jumped ahead 3-0 in the second inning, scoring runs on a wild pitch and an error before Dakota Bowyer delivered a sacrifice fly.
Parkersburg Post 15’s Devon Crews eyes a pitch to hit during Area 3 American Legion tournament play on Friday at Bennett Stump Field as Beckley Post 32 catcher Brandon Schack awaits the throw from pitcher Brandon Chandler. (Photo by Jay W. Bennett)
Post 15, though, cut the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the second on a leadoff double by Paul Fichtelman, followed two outs later by an RBI double off the bat of Logan Dudley.
But Beckley tacked on three more tallies in the fourth on Bowyer's run-scoring single, a passed ball and Brad Huffman's sacrifice fly to open up a 6-1 lead.
Devon Crews' sacrifice fly for Post 15 narrowed the gap to 6-2 in the fifth frame and with reliever Jonathon Murphy mowing the Beckley batters down without a hit for four innings, Parkersburg went into the last of the eighth still trailing by just four runs.
And Post 15 did get two of those runs back in the eighth. Crews singled up the middle to open the inning and with one out, Murphy sliced a double down into the right-field corner to put runners at second and third.
Jordan Braniff's slow roller to second for an out at first brought a run home and when a throw back across the diamond to try and get the runner going to third was dropped for an error and rolled down the left-field line, Murphy scored too to make it only a two-run game.
A Dudley single to left followed, bringing the tying tun to the plate, but a strikeout to end the inning stopped the threat.
In the ninth, Beckley got a two-out RBI single from Heath Utterback and Post 15 went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to conclude its season.
"We just left too many runners in scoring position on base," said Post 15 manager Jim Goodwin. "We made a few errors, a few mistakes, but they (Beckley) came to play and they played better than us."
Area 1 Tournament
Wheeling 9, St. Marys 4
MOUNDSVILLE -St. Marys Post 79 finished with the most wins in four-year history -24 -but will have to wait til next year to claim its first Area 1 championship.
Needing two wins over Wheeling Post 1, St. Marys lost Friday's opener, 9-4, to end its season with a 24-18 mark.
The good news is that Manager Wirt Cook - who missed the entire tournament -has been released from the hospital.
"We accomplished a lot,'' said Cook. "We had three players missing because they were working.''
St. Marys had dug itself a hole in the tournament by losing its opener to Moundsville.
Post 79 got a two-run home run from Jarrod Lough and a solo blast by Robbie Harper, both in the seventh inning, but still trailed 7-4 with just two innings to play.
Justus Jackson not only was the winning pitcher for Wheeling, but also went for 3-for-5 at the plate.