KEYSER - On Friday at 3 p.m., Romney Post 91 faced an elimination game in the West Virginia American Legion State Tournament against area rival Berkeley Post 14.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - On Friday at 3 p.m., Romney Post 91 faced an elimination game in the West Virginia American Legion State Tournament against area rival Berkeley Post 14.  
Post 91 jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after three innings, then lightning struck, in the form of the weather and Berkeley’s offense. After the lightning delay, Berkeley exploded for a total of six runs to earn the 7-3 victory, ending Post 91’s tournament.
Berkeley got on the board first with one run right out of the gate in the top of the first inning.  Post 91 responded in a big way, earning three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-1 lead after one inning of play.  Zack Whitacre singled to left field and Eli Hott followed with a walk. Foster Conis would then single, advancing Whitacre to third and Hott to second. Whitacre would score the first run on an error, then Chandler Rhodes drove in Eli Hott with a single to right field.  Three batters later, Morgan Little would single to drive in Conis for run number three.
Neither team could muster a score in either the second or third innings, and Post 91 went into the lightning delay in the top of the fourth inning leading 3-1. That all changed as soon as play resumed.  
Berkeley promptly tied the game 3-3 after the resumption of play with two runs. Cory Daly led things off with a double to left field.  Hunter Coe then doubled to left to score Daly.  Parker Martin next hit Berkeley’s third straight double, scoring Coe to tie things at three runs apiece.
In the top of the fifth inning, Berkeley scored three runs to take a 6-3 lead. Justin Murphy singled into a fielder’s choice to get things started.  With two outs, Cory Daly grounded Murphy home to give Berkeley the 4-3 lead.  Hunter Coe then tripled on a line drive to center field, scoring Daly and Kyle Farmer to extend Berkeley’s lead to 6-3.
Two straight doubles by Berkeley to open the inning, one by Jameson Matthew, the other by Dylan McCartney, scored Matthew, giving Berkeley a 7-3, sixth-inning lead. There would be no additional scoring and the game would conclude after seven innings with Berkeley earning the 7-3 victory.
Despite Berkeley’s 7-3 victory, each team collected eight hits and produced three errors.
Taylor Tennant went six and two-thirds innings in the victory for Berkeley, striking out two, walking one, giving up three runs on eight hits and three errors. Kyle Farmer closed out the final two outs.
In the loss, Post 91 first threw Eli Hott for five innings, followed by Tristan Everett for the final two innings. Hott struck out five, walked one, giving up seven runs on seven hits and four errors. Everett struck out one, walked none, giving up no runs on one hit.
Hunter Coe led Berkeley offensively with two hits, a triple and a double, and three RBI’s. Jameson Matthew, Parker Martin, Dylan McCartney and Cory Daly each doubled; Martin, McCartney and Daly each had an RBI.
Post 91 was led at the plate by Zack Whitacre and Foster Conis with two hits apiece. In addition, Chandler Rhodes, Tobin Cain, Morgan Little and Brady Whitacre each had a hit; Rhodes and Little each recorded an RBI.
The loss concluded a fantastic season overall for Romney Post 91.  Post 91 finished the season as the area champion and with an overall record of 29-10, the second most wins in program history.  In addition, Post 91 finished in fourth place overall in the State of West Virginia.  This is the fourth straight season Post 91 has posted a top four finish.
The victory advanced Berkeley into a championship matchup with tournament-undefeated Morgantown. Berkeley needed to defeat Morgantown twice to win the championship, Morgantown need only win one game.
In the first matchup on Saturday, it took 12 innings, but Berkeley would prevail in game one by a score of 6-5. Morgantown would take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and tack on two more runs in the second inning to advance to an early 3-0 lead. Berkeley, however, would explode for four runs in the third inning to take a 4-3 lead after three.  
Morgantown would score one run in the fourth inning to tie the game at four runs apiece through four innings. In the top of the seventh inning, Morgantown took a 5-4 lead and were two outs away from the title when Berkeley came alive with a bunt that scored a run and tied the game 5-5 and forced extra innings. It would go all the way to the 12th inning when Berkeley bunted again to score the deciding run and claim the 6-5 victory.
This forced a game two, held the next day on Sunday.  In the deciding game two, Morgantown jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.  There would be no more scoring until Berkeley added one run each in the fifth and six innings to claw to within one run (3-2). In the top of the seventh inning, down to two outs, Berkeley would score two runs to take a 4-3 lead heading to the bottom of the seventh inning.  In the bottom of the seventh, however, Morgantown would score two runs, the deciding run being on a wild pitch, to secure the state championship with a 5-4 victory.
With that state championship victory, Morgantown now advances to the Mid-Atlantic Regionals in North Carolina. This is Morgantown’s 13th overall American Legion State Championship, and their first in 11 years.