CHAPMANVILLE — When the Chapmanville and Man 11-12-year-old Little League All-Stars met on Friday night in a District 2 Tournament rematch there was much anticipation.
Given the talent of both teams it was sure to be a classic.
It sure was.
Both teams put on an outstanding exhibition of Little League baseball and played the game the way it was supposed to be played.
It was expected to be a close one.
It could go either way.
Just flip a coin.
The game lived up to all of the hype as Chapmanville was able to squeak out a 2-1 win over the Man All-Stars at Chapmanville’s Tracy Vickers Field, advancing to Saturday morning’s contest against Mullens for the right to play in next week’s state tournament.
With Chapmanville hosting the state tourney the host team wanted to advance past Man and have a chance to make it to the 14-team state tournament field.
Chapmanville (3-1) was able to knock off the Man All-Stars and get one step closer but it wasn’t easy.
A rare triple play turned by the Chapmanville defense might have saved the day for the host team as Chapmanville avenged an earlier 6-3 loss to Man in the district tourney.
With Chapmanville leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, the heavy-hitting Man team was in business as pitcher Dylan Privett singled and Jason Thomas and Nate Vest drew back-to-back walks from Chapmanville starting pitcher Dillon McCormick.
Man had the bases loaded with nobody out.
This could be it.
This could be the moment when Man broke open the game.
But a wild turn of events went Chapmanville’s way and turned the tide of the entire game.
With the bases juiced, Chapmanville manager Bryan Mahaffey went to his bullpen with relief pitcher Trey Pancake.
Stepping to the plate was Man left fielder Jacob Frazier.
Frazier lofted a soft pop up to Chapmanville second baseman Chase Berry, the younger brother to Chapmanville Regional High School quarterback and CRHS baseball player Alex Berry.
Berry dropped the ball and the infield fly rule was called.
All three of Man’s base runners seemed confused and didn’t know if they had to advance to the next base as the pop up went off Berry’s glove and landed on the infield dirt. Berry, seeing an opening in the mass confusion, ran across the diamond and tagged not one, but two, Man runners for an incredible unassisted triple play.
An unassisted triple play?
Yes that’s right.
Man’s possible big inning ended prematurely.
It was Man’s best shot.
However, in the bottom of the sixth inning, still trailing 2-1, Man threatened again as Privette hammered an opposite field double down the right field line and into the corner with two outs.
Privett moved up 60 feet to third base on a wild pitch but Pancake was able to get the final out as Thomas bounced a ball up the middle, going off Pancake’s glove to second baseman Berry, who then tossed to first base for the final out of the game.
Man closed out tourney play at 2-2. After opening with Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Chapmanville, Man lost 12-0 to Madison on Wednesday and moved on to the semifinals with Thursday’s 4-1 victory over winless Tug Valley.
All of Friday’s runs came in the first inning.
Chapmanville plated both its runs in the top of the first inning as Garrett Richard led off with a single, McCormick walked and both came home on Pancake’s two-run, two-out double to make it 2-0.
Man scored its only run in the last half of the first inning as Casey Hurley rocked a McCormick pitch for a solo homer beyond the center field fence, trimming the deficit to 2-1.
Privett added a single in the first inning for Man but was stranded there as Thomas hit into a fielder’s choice. Privett was 3-for-3 at the plate for Man. Hurley’s homer was the only other hit.
Pancake was 2-for-3 for Chapmanville. Richard, Braxton Browning and Ethan Stollings had Chapmanville’s other hits.
McCormick was the winning pitcher for Chapmanville. He went three innings and gave up one run and two hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Pancake fired the last three innings and yielded no runs and one hit with three Ks.
Privett went 4.2 innings for Man and allowed just two runs and three hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Ryan Cozart tossed the last 1.1 innings and gave up no runs and one hit with two strikeouts and one walk.