The Billies’ Braden Griffin (3) is greeted at home plate after hitting a homer last night in the home opener. (Photo | Steven Browning)
MAN — The Man High School baseball team defeated Phelps, Ky., 12-10 on Wednesday night at Dr. Juan Nordelo Field to improve to 1-1 on the season.
With the game tied 10-10 in the bottom of the fifth, Man got what proved to be the game winning run off Hornets’ right hander Zack Mayhorn.
Thomas Blair walked with one out and Drew Merritt reached on an error. Braden Griffin then laid down a sacrifice bunt. Noah Maynard then got an infield hit, scoring Blair to make it 11-10. Maynard then got in a rundown at first base, giving Merritt time to race home and scored before Maynard was tagged out as the Billies upped their lead to 12-10.
Phelps went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning as pitcher Austin Maynard scored on a two-out error by Man.
The Billies then sent nine batters to the plate in the home half of the first inning, scoring six runs on just two hits and three Phelps errors on the Hornets to take a 6-1 advantage.
Both teams were scoreless in the second inning.
PHS scored four runs in the top of the third frame to cut the Man lead to 6-5 as the Hornets would send nine batters to the plate off Man starter Aaron Willard and relief pitcher Maynard with the key hit coming from Kyle Sneed.
Griffin then smacked a solo homer over the short porch in right field in the bottom of the third inning to give the Billies a 7-5 lead. Michael Vitruals then walked, stole second and scored on an RBI ground out by Nick Carter to make it 8-5. J.T. Twardy then delivered an RBI single to give MHS a 9-5 advantage.
Maynard came in to pitch for Man in the top of the fourth inning and gave up a run as Phelps cut it to 9-6.
The Billies then scored another run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI by Vitruals to make it 10-6.
Phelps, though, continued to battle back and ended up tying the game at 10 with a four-spot in the top of the fifth. Mayhorn delivered the big blow — a two-run double.
Down 12-10, the Hornets threatened in the top of the seventh inning by loading the bases with two outs off Cody Carter, but Man head coach Larry Vance went to his bullpen and brought in Andrew Merritt who struck out Tyler Stump to preserve the win.
Man had 12 runs on nine hits and committed six errors while Phelps scored 10 runs on eight hits and had a whopping nine errors.
Griffin was 2-for-3 with a double, a homer and three RBI to lead the Billies’ attack. Merritt was 2-for-4, while Carter, Twardy, Blair and Vitruals had one hit each.
Brandon Sneed and Stump were each 2-for-4 to lead Phelps.
Man is scheduled to travel to play at Buffalo on Thursday night, weather permitting.