By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Things began so well for Beckley Post 32, which won four of its first five games. Since then, one thing or another has bitten the team at inopportune times.
Beckley was 5-9-1 going into Wednesday’s doubleheader against Fairmont Post 17. Almost nothing has gone right since that 4-1 start.
“Of the nine losses, we have lost by a combined 15 runs,” Post 32 coach Seth Allen said. “We have had either base running mistakes, fielding errors or we get guys on base and can’t capitalize.”
A perfect illustration came at the annual Hillbilly Hardball Classic in Elkins, where Post 32 lost three of four games.
The first loss was 11-10 in eight innings to Romney Post 91, which scored eight unearned runs. Beckley later gave up five unearned runs to Potomac Valley in an 8-7 loss, also in eight innings.
Post 32 made its home debut last Friday, getting swept 5-3 and 11-5 to Elkins Post 29 at Liberty High. In the first game, a Beckley error opened the door to three Elkins runs in the seventh.
Other than the record, Post 32 has some decent numbers. The pitching staff has an earned run average of 2.80 and the team batting average stands at .290.
“The batting average would be better if we could get more guys hitting at the same time,” Allen said.
Infielder/outfielder Brad Huffman leads the team with a .444 batting average. Outfielder Jordan Meadows is at .318, while first baseman Heath Utterback is at .333. Outfielder/second baseman Jay Webb is hitting .375 and has a 2.84 ERA in 6 1-3 innings.
A trio of Woodrow Wilson players are leading the pitching staff. Chris Metrick has a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings pitched. Josh Rakes 2.30 and Brandon Chandler 2.50. Greenbrier East’s Ryan Windon is next at 3.00.
The team roster is as follows:
Woodrow Wilson: Webb (who now plays at Fairmont State), Metrick, Rakes, Chandler and Dakota Bowyer; Greenbrier East: Windon, Utterback, R.J. Massie and Ben Lovett; Liberty: Joey Lacek, Dylan Keel and Austin Lyons; Shady Spring: Meadows and Brendan Schack; Independence: Huffman and Jeremy McGinnis.
Allen was quick to credit his assistant coaches, including his brother David Allen, as well as Sean Poling and Brett Buchanan.
Beckley will host a pair of doubleheaders this weekend at Woodrow Wilson. Clarksburg Post 13 will visit at 5:30 p.m. Friday, while Parkersburg Post 15 will roll into town for a 1 p.m. meeting Saturday.
— E-mail: gfauber