The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


July 20, 2008

Huntington wins Babe Ruth championship

As hot as the weather was over the weekend, probably the only people who wanted to play a doubleheader Sunday were from Elkins.

Huntington Southeastern shortstop Matt Napier made sure it didn’t happen.

Napier’s leaping stab in the top of the seventh inning preserved Huntington’s 6-5 win over Elkins for the 14-year-old Babe Ruth League state championship at Harry Lewin Field.

A win by Elkins would have forced a decisive second game. Instead, Napier’s play helped Huntington repeat as state champion. Up next is the Ohio Valley Region tournament that begins July 31 in Shelbyville, Ind.

Huntington went 3-0 in the tournament, and Sunday was the only day they didn’t score at least 10 runs.

“We knew we could compete, since we won it last year,” Huntington coach Mark Bell said. “We knew we were going to be facing some very good teams. Elkins is a good team and we knew Harrison (County) was a very good team. We didn’t know anything about Beckley and Big Creek. We knew there was going to be good competition.”

Elkins provided that Sunday. Starting pitcher Brennan Dettinger allowed Huntington’s offense just two runs through the first four innings.

But Huntington broke through with four in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead.

Elkins scored a run in the sixth and then made things interesting in the seventh.

Scott Fox and J.D. Brown both reached to lead off the inning and later scored on a two-out single by Corey Howell, making the score 6-5.

With two runners on, Ryan Bonnell hit a line drive off Huntington reliever Steve Mason. Napier was able to jump and snare the ball in his glove to end the game.

Napier, who will be a freshman at Cabell Midland High next month, was mobbed by his teammates after he made the title-clinching play.

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