MORGANTOWN - Elkins Post 29 took the first step in defending its championship with a 6-4 win over Romney Wednesday afternoon in American Legion State Tournament action at West Virginia University's Hawley Field.
Elkins will now face South Charleston at 3:30 p.m. today. Post 94 lost to Morgantown, 11-7.
Elkins pitcher Cody Gainer started out erratically, hitting leadoff batter Jamison Jones and Josh Crawford. Both runners later scored on an error and passes ball as Post 91 jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Romney plated another run in the second inning when Gainer issued walks to four straight batters with Matt Maiers scoring.
Meanwhile, Post 91's Colton Dorsey held Elkins at bay for the first two innings.
Tyler Shreve was the only baserunner for Elkins during that time and he reached on a two-base error by Romney's Shone Ennis.
Elkins found a way to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third, however.
Garrett Riggleman led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Al Johnson. After Brennan Dettinger singled, Riggleman ran home on a wild pitch by Dorsey.
Post 29 tied the game up in the fourth. After an initial out by Colby Gainer, Chance Price singled and Doug Smith was hit-by-a-pitch. After the runners advanced on a wild pitch, Silas Gibson reached on an error with Price scoring. Two batters later, Johnson singled in Smith for the first RBI of the game.
At the same time Elkins started coming alive at the plate, Cody Gainer started finding his groove on the mound.
In the third through the eighth innings, he allowed only three singles and struck out eight batters during that span.
"Cody didn't have his control in the beginning and we were just trying to manufacture some runs to stay in the game," Post 29 general manager Chris George said.
"Fortunately, we were able to do that. Cody then got going and we were in good shape."
Elkins took the lead in the fifth inning and added to it with runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
In the fifth, Cody Gainer singled and later scored after tagging up on a deep fly ball to center by Price.
Dettinger led off the bottom of the seventh with a single.
Shreve, facing new pitcher for Post 91, Tyler Holt, beat out a bunt for a single. Dettinger would score when Colby Gainer hit into a fielder's choice.
Elkins plated its sixth and final run in the eighth. After two outs, Johnson was issued a walk and took second base on a passed ball. Dettinger then singled him in.
Romney tried to answer in the ninth inning, but the effort fell short.
Braiden Popuhlar led off with a single but the next two batters were retired. David Delawder extended the game when he was hit-by-a-pitch, and when Crawford hit a long single, Popuhlar scored. However, Delawder was too aggressive and was tagged out at home for the third out and the game.
Cody Gainer pitched a complete game for Post 29, allowing five hits, issuing six walks and striking out 10 Romney batters.
Six batters had hits for Elkins, with Dettinger leading with three singles and an RBI and Johnson with two singles and an RBI.
"I was worried about this game," George said. "Romney is one of the best teams in the state and we're very happy to come away with a victory."