MAN — When good weather has allowed the Man High School baseball team has been outside and working hard.
The Hillbillies have a mission.
And that is to turn things around.
Last season, Man started out slowly with an 0-13 record and finished 6-23. The Billies improved late in the season, going 5-4 in their last nine games and winning the Class A sectional championship with 7-1 and 16-1 decisions over Tug Valley.
The Billies were eventually ousted 3-2 at Valley Fayette in the regional tournament.
Nearly everyone is back for Man this season, including most of the team’s pitchers, and head coach Larry Vance is very optimistic.
Gone are only two seniors from last year’s team in Cody Carter and Chris Justice. Everyone else returns to the Billies squad, including two new coaches to the staff in Zac Cox and Todd Clark along with Bill Lusk and Nick Booth.
Leading the way for Man is Braden Griffin, a center fielder, who is a very good hitter and lefty pitcher.
John Thomas Keffer is back at third base and on the mound.
Two seniors return for their final season of prep ball in catcher Cayce Mullins and first baseman/pitcher Noah Maynard.
Kenny Joe Adkins is projected to play second base and Mikle Scott Rowe is expected to see some action on the hill.
Mitchell Morris and Bailey Beckwith will see playing time in the outfield for the Hillbillies.
Lefty pitcher Jake Adkins is also out for baseball this spring and has been looking good and throwing hard, Vance said.
Man is scheduled to open the 2014 season on March 28 at home against Lincoln County. The Billies then host Charleston Catholic on March 29 and go to River View on March 31.
County rival Chapmanville then comes to Man on April 1. It’s the first of two games this season between the Billies and the Tigers. Chapmanville. The Tigers won 6-0 last year in the only meeting.
Man also has a home-and-home series with county rival Logan. The Wildcats swept the Billies last year 15-1 and 10-2.
The Billies have plenty of other tough matchups on tap, including a two-game set against Belfry, Ky.
— The Logan Banner will preview each of the six county baseball and softball teams in the coming two weeks.
2014 Man High School
March 28: Lincoln County, 6 p.m.
March 29: Charleston Catholic, 1 p.m.
March 31: at River View, 7:30 p.m.
April 1: Chapmanville, 7 p.m.
April 3: at Tug Valley, 6 p.m.
April 4: Fayetteville, 6 p.m.
April 5: at Valley Fayette, 1 p.m.
April 8: Sherman, 6 p.m.
April 9: Westside, 6 p.m.
April 11: at Liberty Raleigh, 5 p.m.
April 12: at Fayetteville, 12 p.m.
April 12: at Oak Hill, 3 p.m.
April 15: at Mount View, 5 p.m.
April 16: at Lincoln County, 4 p.m.
April 17: Valley Fayette, 5 p.m.
April 18: Buffalo, 3 p.m.
April 19: Moorefield, 3 p.m.
April 22: at Logan, 7 p.m.
April 23: at Belfry, Ky., 6:30 p.m.
April 25: River View, 7 p.m.
April 26: at Buffalo, 1 p.m.
April 28: Belfry, Ky., 7:30 p.m.
April 29: Tug Valley, 6 p.m.
April 30: Mount View, 6 p.m.
May 1: at Sherman, 6 p.m.
May 3: Liberty Raleigh, 5 p.m.
May 5: at Westside, 6 p.m.
May 7: at Chapmanville, 7 p.m.
May 8: Logan, 7 p.m.
May 9: at Charleston Catholic, 6 p.m.