The Mountain Valley Athletic Conference baseball tournament started on Monday night with the high seeds hosting the first round at home. Elkin, the number four seed in the tournament, hosted Ashe County, the fifth seed. With storms rolling in, the Elks were able to come up big in the final three innings to earn a 5-0 win over the Huskies.
Things got off to a slow start for both teams in the first three innings. Will Altemueller got all three outs for the Elks as he struck out the first batter, and threw out the second and fourth batters of the inning. The first, second and third innings weren’t much better for the Elks as they went three-up three-down in the first inning, left a runner on first in the second inning, and left a runner on third in the third inning.
As the sky was getting darker and the game was dragging on for both teams, Elkin’s Tanner Edwards changed the pace of the game with the crack of the bat. The senior first baseman stepped up to the plate and smashed the ball over the left field fence on a 0-1 count to give the Elks a 1-0 lead.
Edwards’ home-run was the only run of the inning, but it lit a fire in Elkin as the team scored three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Will Altemueller hit a double to right field, then his pinch runner scored off an RBI hit by Hayden Brooks. With two outs on the board, Eli Brown stepped up for the Elks and hit a double to center field on a 2-0 count. Brown moved to third off a base hit by Jackson Carter, while the Ashe County pitcher walked Matt Martir-Tullock to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Tanner Edwards stepped up to the plate looking to capitalize for the Elks, but he was walked on a 3-1 count. Edwards’ walk scored Carter and gave the Elks a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
In the next inning, the Elks were not done finding ways to score. Cory Wiles stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth and crushed the ball over the center field fence to earn a solo home-run and give the Elks a 5-0 lead. It would be the last run the Elks would score, but it would be enough as they kept up their defensive tactics in the top of the seventh to get three outs and the 5-0 win over Ashe County.
The Elks were not only on fire in the batters box, they showed up big on the field. Will Altemueller came up big for the Elks on the mound, as the senior struck out eleven batters, and threw 42 strikes in seven innings. Altemueller has been a driving force for the Elks this season — on Friday night in Ashe County, Altemuller reached a milestone that not many athletes reach in their high school careers. He threw his 100th strikeout for the season, and his 300th career strikeout. It’s an impressive milestone for any high school athlete.
The Elks will move on to the second round of the MVAC tournament. Their opponent has not yet been decided as several games were called off on Monday night due to the weather. Results were not available by press deadline.