Man rolls past Tug Valley to sectional title
by Jerry Fekete
MAN — The Man High School baseball team swept the Tug Valley Panthers to win the Class A sectional title.
On Thursday at Man’s Dr. Juan Nordelo Field, the Hillbillies won 7-1 over the Panthers. Man then won again on Friday night, 16-1, in a mercy-shortened game.
Man (7-21), winners of four straight games, will now advance to regional play on May 21 at Valley Fayette against the Greyhounds (20-5). Valley beat Man twice during the regular season by 15-5 and 5-3 scores. Due to questional playing conditions at Valley, the game may be moved to the turf field at East Bank which is used by the WVU Tech baseball team.
Tug Valley saw its season come to a close at 8-13. This was the first season the Billies and the Panthers were in the same section.
In Friday’s decisive Game 2, Man freshman pitcher John Thomas Keffer picked up the win. Mikey Newsome suffered the loss for the Panthers on the hill.
Man was the visitors on the scoreboard and wasted no time as they plated five runs in the first inning.
Keffer and Chris Justice led off with walks and were followed by four straight hits from Man batters.
Noah Maynard got it started with an RBI single to make it 1-0. Braden Griffin then followed with his RBI single and it was 2-0. Cody Carter and Cayce Mullins then each rapped out run scoring singles as Man made it 4-0. Neil Mullins rounded out the first-inning scoring with a sacrifice fly.
The rout was on.
Man plated two more runs in the top of the second stanza off Newsome to make it a 7-0 ballgame.
Freshman Kenny Joe Adkins singled and later scored on an RBI single by Justice to make it 6-0. Justice later scored on an RBI single by Griffin.
The Billies pushed their lead to 8-0 in the top of the third.
Tug Valley’s lone run came in the bottom of the third to trim the margin to 8-1.
Man then answered with three more runs in the top of the fourth to take a commanding 11-1 lead.
The Billies tacked on five more runs in the fifth to make it a 16-1 ballgame.
Keffer allowed just four hits while striking out two and walking one over five innings of work. Newsome allowed 10 runs on nine hits and didn’t have any defense behind him as Tug Valley committed six errors.
Mullins led Man at the plate as he had three hits and two RBI. Griffin, Adkins and Carter had two hits each. Griffin also knocked in three runs. Carter had two RBI. Mikle Scott Rowe added a hit for Man.
Tug Valley had one hit each by Tyler Lucas, Trevin Horn, Jordan Mounts and Philip Lucas.
In Game 1 on Thursday night, Carter went the distance and picked up the win on the mound for Man as he allowed just one run and four hits.
The Panthers took the lead 1-0 in the top of the second inning. It turned out to be the only run of the game for Tug.
Man plated three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good at 3-1.
Griffin’s RBI double tied the game up. Cayce Mullins later had an RBI single to give Man a 2-1 lead. Neil Mullins then walked with the bases loaded to force in another run as the lead swelled to 3-1.
Man added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings.
In the fourth, Griffin hammered an RBI triple and Carter helped his own cause with an RBI single to make it 5-1.
Then in the fifth inning the Billies pushed two more runs across the plate as the lead increased to 7-1.
Griffin led the Billies’ hitting attack as he was 3-for-3 with a single, double and triple. Carter had a hit and two RBI while Justice, Rowe and Neil Mullins each added a hit.
Jordan Mounts suffered the loss on the hill for Tug Valley.
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