FAIRMONT – The Buckhannon Post 7 Junior Legion team had a very solid run in the third annual American Junior Legion State Tournament held in Fairmont this past weekend.
Buckhannon went a perfect 2-0 in pool play on Saturday beating Romney and Morgantown and earned the top seed in the elimination knock out round but suffered a self-inflicted loss to East Fairmont on Sunday ending their run.
Facing extreme temperatures on Saturday, Post 7 defeated Romney and Morgantown in back-to-back games. They downed Romney by a 4-3 score and beat Morgantown 17-7 in a game called in the sixth inning on the 10-run mercy rule.
“It was nice to 10-run Morgantown Post 2 for the second straight time we have played them,” stated Buckhannon Post 7 general manager Kevin Boring. “That is a program with a long history and pulls kids from both Morgantown and University so it's good to compete with them and beat them two out of three games we faced them this season.”
On Sunday, Post 7 fell to East Fairmont by a 12-9 score.
In their opener on Saturday, Romney took a 3-0 in the top of the second, but it was all Buckhannon after that.
Buckhannon started to chip away at the lead with a run in the in the bottom of the second when Hunter Stone singled and later scored on a ground out by Johnathan Haddix to make it a 3-1 game.
Buckhannon cut it to 3-2 in the bottom of the third when Elijah Arbogast started the inning with a walk, went to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch.
Post 7 took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of runs.
Stone opened the inning with a single, swiped second and moved to third on a single by Haddix.
Stone scored on bunt single by Cam Tenney and Haddix later scored on a wild pitch to treat Buckhannon to a 4-3 lead.
Jay Burnside, who came into pitch for Buckhannon in the sixth inning, set down Romney in order in the top of the seventh to preserve the win.
Burnside earned the win tossing two scoreless innings and striking out two.
Brady Hurst pitched five innings and did not factor in the decision. He gave up two earned runs on three hits and fanned three.
Post 7 collected seven hits in the win with Stone and Cam Tenney each getting two apiece.
In their second outing of the day against Morgantown, Buckhannon wasted little time in showing their dominance with a six-run first inning sending 10 batters to the plate.
Buckhannon did all their damage with two outs.
Stone and Zach Calef-Boring each had an RBI during the inning while Post 7 capitalized on two hit batsmen, two Morgantown errors and four walks.
Buckhannon added two more runs in the top of the of the second for an 8-0 advantage.
Hurst and Stone each knocked in a run for Post 7 during the inning.
Morgantown closed the game to 8-6 with a trio of runs in the bottom of the second and the bottom of the third.
Post 7 responded with a three-run fourth inning with Calef-Boring hitting a two-run double and a Haddox hitting a one-run single to account for the scoring giving Buckhannon an 11-6 lead.
Calef-Boring and Haddix each knocked in a run for Post 7 in the top fifth to up their advantage to 13-6.
Post 7 put the icing on the cake with a four-run sixth inning.
Buckhannon got RBI’s from Hurst, Stone and Calef-Boring during the inning.
Morgantown added the final run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Buckhannon managed nine hits in the win with Stone and Haddix each getting two apiece.
Arbogast went five innings on the mound to pick up the win while Burnside tossed the final two.
“The Junior team played really well Saturday,” said Boring. “We limited our walks and errors in the field. We also did a good job late in the games with moving runners over with bunting. We were patient at the plate and put together some good at-bats hitting pitches we can handle. It was very warm on Saturday and I give our boys credit for battling it out both games in the heat.”
Unfortunately for Post 7 on Sunday, they couldn’t keep it going against East Fairmont as they committed seven errors and left nine runners on base.
East Fairmont scored once in the top of the first then used a big six-run second inning for a 7-0 lead.
Stone scored Buckhannon’s first run in the bottom of the second when he walked, moved all the way to third on Calef-Boring’s double and raced home on a wild pitch.
East Fairmont scored a run in the top of the third and fourth for a 9-1 advantage.
Zach White and Hurst drew bases-loaded walks and Isaac Lane knocked in a run for Post 7 in the bottom of the fourth to make it a 9-4 contest.
The game stayed that way until the sixth inning when both teams scored a run.
Buckhannon’s run happened when Trey Leigh singled and later scored on a wild pitch.
That made it a 10-5 game.
East Fairmont scored two more times in the top of the seventh for a 12-5 lead.
Buckhannon made a game out of it in the bottom of the seventh scoring four times, getting a one-run single from Lane and two-run double from Stone and scoring the other run on an error, but Post 7 couldn’t get any closer than three runs.
“I thought we did a good job of rallying to get back in the game,” said Boring. “I thought our guys never gave up which is a good sign. We just left too many base runners on base as well as committing too many errors in the field. We had one inning in which they score six runs. If we handle that inning better, we really have a great shot to win that game and advance to the championship.”
Buckhannon collected nine hits with Leigh and Lane each getting two.
Lane started the game and went 1 2/3 innings while Leigh pitched the final 5 1/3 innings for Post 7.
The Junior Legion team ended their year with a 5-7 record.
“I think our first year with the junior team was successful,” concluded Boring. “It got our younger guys good experience and got them on the field. They improved as the season went on. I think the fact that they showed improvement will give them a desire to work hard this off season to get ready for the high school season and next legion season.”