Man nearly pulls off upset but falls 3-2 in regionals
by Paul Adkins
The underdog Man High School baseball team made a heroic upset bid on Tuesday night in the Class A regional semifinals but it came up a bit short as the Hillbillies were ousted 3-2 by No. 6-ranked Valley Fayette in a game played at Smithers.
Valley improved to 22-7 on the season, while Man saw its season come to a close at 6-23.
The Greyhounds, with several batters having hit .400 or better this season, could only muster three singles off Man pitching but still manufactured enough runs to advance to the Class A Region 3 championship game.
Valley Fayette led 1-0 but Man was able to push across single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead. The first run was scored on an RBI single by Neil Mullins. The second run came around on an RBI double off the bat of Cayce Mullins.
On the mound, Man was cruising right along, led by left-handed pitcher Braden Griffin.
But then in the bottom of the fifth, the Greyhounds came alive with two runs to jump ahead 3-2.
Drew Jones accounted for the trying run by himself as he led off with a bunt single, took second on a passed ball, stole third and scored on another passed ball.
The eventual winning run was scored by Arik McGinnis, who reached on a walk, stole second and scored on a deep fly ball to center by Druw Bowen.
Jones put Valley on top 1-0 in the bottom of the first as he walked, took second on a Man throwing error on a pickoff attempt, stole third and scored on another error.
Bowen was Valley’s starting pitcher but left the game after just one inning due to arm problems.
Catcher Cody Winter took off his gear and came in on the hill to relieve Bowen. He pitched five innings of relief and held Man in check.
McGinnis, then pitched the final inning to notch the save.
The Greyhounds are slated to play at Fayetteville on Thursday in the Class A regional title game with a state tourney berth on the line.
Cody Carter, Noah Maynard and John Thomas Keffer added hits for Man, which outhit the Greyhounds 5-3.
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