SPARTA - Jamey Cranford loves pitching against Alleghany.
In the teams’ last showdown on April 22, Cranford turned in his finest performance of the season, firing six shutdown innings to power the Buckin’ Elks to a critical 13-5 victory heading down the stretch.
The senior was even better Wednesday night in the opening round of the Mountain Valley Conference tournament in Sparta.
Cranford dazzled in a complete-game gem to lead sixth-seeded Elkin to a huge 10-6 upset victory over 1A regular-season champion Alleghany. The ace threw seven dominant innings, allowing just two earned runs (six total runs), while punching out a dozen to power the Elks.
Offensively, an unlikely hero stepped up and paced Elkin’s bats.
Freshman Tanner Edwards went 3-for-5 with a double in his varsity debut with three RBIs and two runs scored. Drew Shinkle, Logan Newman and Cranford all added a pair of hits as eight of the nine starters recorded a base hit on the night.
Daniel Brinegar, Seth Haynes, Newman and Shinkle also collected RBIs as the Elks racked up 13 hits in the game.
Elkin fell behind quickly up the mountain as Alleghany built a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
But with their backs against the wall, the Elks came out swinging. Elkin recorded back-to-back four-run frames to grab a 10-5 advantage in the sixth.
Cranford slammed the door in the seventh to give the Elks their second straight win over 1A rival Alleghany.
Elkin returns to the field Thursday night in the conference tournament semifinals in Hays against second-seeded Forbush. The Falcons out-scored the Elks 23-2 in two regular-season blowout victories.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.