By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Beckley Post 32 picked the right time to get hot.
The American Legion Area 3 tournament starts today, with Beckley traveling to Parkersburg to take on Post 15. First pitch for the nine-inning game will be 6 p.m.
Post 32 is the third seed by virtue of losses to Area 3 teams early in the season. But that slow start has come to a halt — since falling to 6-10-1 after a doubleheader split with Parkersburg on June 29, Beckley has won nine of its last 10 games.
“We’re starting to play better now,” Beckley coach Seth Allen said. “We’re starting to hit the ball with runners on base, and everybody is getting healthy. And the players are more committed than they were early in the summer. The guys are jelling well around each other. For a lot of them, it was their first time playing together.”
Brad Huffman of Independence has led Post 32 at the plate, hitting .412 with 11 doubles and 26 runs batted in. Former Woodrow Wilson player Jay Webb, now at Fairmont State, is batting .397, followed by Woodrow Wilson’s Dakota Bowyer (.347), Heath Utterback (Greenbrier East, .344) and Jeremy McGinnis (Independence, .319).
Webb has scored 24 runs and homered twice. Jordan Meadows and Bowyer both have scored 23 runs.
Josh Rakes of Woodrow Wilson will be the starting pitcher today.
If Beckley (15-11-1) wins, it will take on South Charleston Post 94 at 6 p.m. Thursday in Sissonville. A loss today would put Beckley in Friday’s 6 p.m. elimination game at the Thursday loser between Parkersburg and South Charleston.
The tournament winner will play in the American Legion state tournament, which will start Wednesday, July 31, in Morgantown.
— E-mail: gfauber