CHAPMANVILLE - The 2019 high school baseball season is shaping up to be the year of the Scott Skyhawks.
Not only in Class AA Region 4 Section 2 but also the entire Cardinal Conference and possibly beyond as well.
The Class AA No. 3-ranked Skyhawks nailed down that point with Tuesday night's 2-1 win over No. 8 Chapmanville in a battle of top 10 ranked Cardinal Conference teams at Chapmanville's Ted Ellis Field.
Scott was able to shake off a pair of home losses to Class AAA George Washington (5-3) and Class A power Charleston Catholic (7-6) over the weekend in its own McDonald's Wooden Bat Tournament and improve to 16-3 overall and 7-1 in the conference with the win over the Tigers.
More importantly, the Skyhawks moved to 2-0 this season against sectional teams.
Scott, hoping to nail down the top seed for next month's sectional tournament, also has a win this season over Logan (5-0).
There's still a lot of baseball left to be played, however. Scott has rematches with Logan on April 27 on the road and at home to the Tigers on April 22, but the Skyhawks continue to make a case for the No. 1 seed.
Scott does not play sectional foes Man or Lincoln County this season and also has a pair of games against Mingo Central, the perceived weakest team within the sectional.
The Skyhawks have a senior-laden team, led by all-state pitcher and WVU recruit Carter Lyles.
Lyles, a senior right-hander with a mitt-popping fastball, out-dueled Chapmanville's Chase Berry in Tuesday's game, pitching a complete game win.
Lyles was able to get out of a couple of mid-inning jams, firing seven innings and allowing just one earned run on three hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.
Berry, who recently pitched a long inning relief gem in the Tigers' 7-3, 14-inning win at Logan, also fared well on the mound but was tagged with the loss. Berry went 6 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Conner Mullins got the last two outs and fanned one in a relief role.
Scott was able to break a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh as Aaron Adkins singled and leadoff man Aaron Epling was able to rip an RBI triple down the right field line to put the Skyhawks on top for good.
Chapmanville put the potential game-tying run on in the bottom of the seventh with Brennan Williams' two-out single. But he was stranded there as Lyles got Casey Hurley to fly out to center to end the game.
Scott took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with an RBI groundout by Lyles.
The lead stood for a long while.
Chapmanville threatened in the fourth inning, loading up the bases with two outs after a Hurley single and walks to Evan Plumley and J.D. Ferrell. Lyles then fanned pinch-hitter Dakota Collins to end the threat.
The Tigers did tie it 1-1 in the fifth on a Scott error.
Facing runners at second and third and just one out, the Skyhawks elected to intentionally walk Hurley to load up the bases.
The strategy worked as Lyles struck out Berry looking and got Plumley to bounce into a force play, getting out of the fix with just one run scored by CRHS.
Plumley added a single for Chapmanville, which was held to three hits.
Miller was 2-for-4 for Scott, while Adkins was 2-for-3. Nathan Kuhn and D.L. Bowman also had hits for the Skyhawks.
Scott made three fine defensive plays in the field.
Right fielder Adkins and center fielder Miller each made diving catches in the first two innings. Then in the third, shortstop Epling ranged far to his left across second base to cut off a Mullins ground ball and toss out the Tiger shortstop on a bang-bang play at first to end the inning.
Both teams committed one error in the game.
Runs have been hard to come by for Scott's opponents this season which have been held to one or no runs nine times this spring.
With the conference win, Scott stayed in first place overall in the Cardinal and stayed ahead of Poca (7-2), Winfield (10-3) and Sissonville (5-3).
Chapmanville dropped to 11-6 overall and 6-5 in the league with the loss.
The Tigers are 4-2 in section play this season, also taking a 13-3 loss to Lincoln County this spring. Chapmanville played Man on Wednesday and also has games ahead with Scott and Logan within the sectional.
CHAPMANVILLE 16, MAN 7: The Chapmanville baseball team bounced back from Tuesday's loss to Scott to defeat county and sectional rival Man 16-7 on Wednesday evening at Chapmanville's Ted Ellis Field.
The Tigers plated six runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings to break the game wide open and improve to 12-6 on the season. Man dropped to 8-5.
CRHS swept the season series, also winning 7-0 at Man.
Chapmanville outhit the Hillbillies 12-6, led by Conner Mullins who was 4-for-5 with one RBI. Casey Hurley was 3-for-4, while J.D. Ferrell was 2-for-3 with three runs knocked in. Braxton Manns added a double for the Tigers and drove in two.
Brennan Williams had a single and two RBIs for the Tigers. Cole Ferrell had one hit and one RBI. Evan Plumley finished with one run batted in.
Dylan McCormick doubled and was 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI to lead Man. Caleb Blevins had a hit and one RBI, while Ryan Cozart, Sam Milton and Jacob Frazier had hits as well.
Man led 4-0 with four runs in the top of the third. The Tigers then tied it with two runs in each of the third and fourth innings. Chapmanville's first six-spot in the fifth put CRHS ahead 10-4. Man cut it to 10-7 with three runs in the top of the sixth, but the Tigers answered with six more.
Evan Plumley was Chapmanville's starting pitcher but received a no-decision. William Kirkendoll then came on in relief to get the win. He went two innings and allowed two runs on two hits with one strikeout and two walks. Hurley then pitched the final two innings in relief.
Tyler Lafferty was the starting and losing pitcher for Man. Cozart and Blevins pitched in relief.
Chapmanville has a big game coming up on Friday with a noon matinee against No. 1-ranked and five-time defending Class AA state champion Bridgeport. It's the first time the two teams have met since the 2015 Class AA state championship game. The Indians won that one 5-0 over the Tigers at Charleston's Appalachian Power Park, closing out Chapmanville's season at 30-6.
Bridgeport will be staying in southern West Virginia for a couple of days.
After playing Chapmanville, the Indians will head 10 miles down the road to play at Logan in a scheduled 5 p.m. contest at Logan's Roger E. Gertz Field.
Bridgeport is then set to head up Corridor G to play at Scott in a 2 p.m. ballgame on Saturday.
Man was slated to play at Westside on Thursday night. The Billies host Oak Hill on Friday at 7 and head to Van on April 24.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org