MORGANTOWN – Buckhannon Post 7 will play host and Area 2 champion Morgantown Post 2 in the opening round of the 2022 West Virginia State American Legion baseball tournament Tuesday at Dale Miller Field.
The six-team, double-elimination tourney features five area champions and one area runner-up from around the state and will last four days, beginning on Tuesday and wrapping up Friday.
The state tournament appearance is the first for Buckhannon Post 7 since 2006.
“Returning to the state tournament is a great achievement for this year’s team,” noted Buckhannon Post 7 general manager Kevin Boring. “When I talked to the boys after winning the game Thursday at Elkins, I tried to let them know how special it is. There have been many really good ball players that have played for Post 7 in the last 16 years since the last trip to the state tournament and we earned and achieved something that hasn’t been done in quite a while.”
Buckhannon will meet perennial state power Morgantown Post 2 in the nightcap on Tuesday. The two teams did not play in the regular season.
“We were scheduled to play them and then the weather got in the way,” said Boring. “All the teams in the final six are really good ball clubs and Morgantown is no exception.”
Post 7 will enter the game led by third baseman Grant Mealey.
Mealey leads the team with a .481 batting average and owns a team-high extra-base hits with nine and a team-high 20 RBIs hitting from the clean-up spot.
Shortstop Landon Marple is second on the team in hitting .338, while second baseman Zach Calef-Boring is third on the squad in hitting with a .333 average.
Two other regulars are hitting over .300, with Ryan Snyder hitting .309 and Eli Bryant hitting .304. The pitching staff is led by Brady Hurst, who threw a team-high 37 2/3 innings and posted a 4-1 record. Tucker Burr posted a 2-1 mark with one save with an earned-run-average of 2.44.
Boring said his young team has nothing to lose in this year’s tournament.
“We have just one 19-year-old on the roster, and the rest of our players are young,” Boring said. “Most of the other teams have more 18- and 19-year-olds. That’s not an excuse; it’s just the way it is. If we play the way we have the last couple of weeks leading up to this point, that’s all I can ask of our guys. I think making the tournament this year means we have some kids starting to buy into the approach of consistent hard work, having a selfless attitude and playing for the team instead of the individual.”
Boring said he wants his team to represent Area V and Buckhannon to the best of their abilities.
“Our expectation is to go up to Morgantown and compete to the best of our abilities,” concluded Boring. “We want to represent Buckhannon, Post 7 and Area V by competing for each and every pitch, playing baseball the way we know how and to demonstrate good sportsmanship each time we take the field.”
The state tournament winner will advance to the Mid-Atlantic Regional, which will also be played at Dale Miller Field August 3-7. As host, Morgantown has already qualified for the regional. If Post 2 wins the state tournament, the runner-up will be the West Virginia representative at the Mid-Atlantic Regional.
STATE TOURNMENT PARTICIPANTS
- Area I – Parkersburg Post 15 (29-6)
- Area II – Morgantown Post 2 (17-14); Bridgeport Post 68 (runner-up, 23-11-2)
- Area III – South Charleston Post 94 (20-5)
- Area IV – Berkeley Post 14 (23-7)
- Area V – Buckhannon Post 7 (13-17)
STATE TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (Double Elimination)
- Berkeley Post 14 vs. Parkersburg Post 15, 1 p.m.
- South Charleston Post 94 vs. Bridgeport Post 68, 4 p.m.
- Buckhannon Post 7 vs. Morgantown Post 2, 7 p.m.
- Berkeley Post 14/Parkersburg Post 15 loser vs. South Charleston Post 94/Bridgeport Post 68 loser (Elimination game)
- Berkeley Post 14/Parkersburg Post 15 winner vs. Buckhannon Post 7/Morgantown Post 2 loser, 4 p.m.
- South Charleston Post 94/Bridgeport Post 68 winner vs. Buckhannon Post 7/Morgantown Post 2 winner, 7 p.m.
- Loser’s bracket second-round (Elimination game), 1 p.m.
- Winner’s bracket, 4 p.m.
- Loser’s bracket third-round (Elimination game), 7 p.m.
- Championship, 1 p.m.
- “If” Game (if needed), 4 p.m.