The Man High School softball team is hoping to go out with a bang.
The Lady Billies, playing their last season in Class A for at least the foreseeable future, took the Single-A Region 3 crown with Thursday night’s 2-1 win over Fayetteville on the Lady Pirates’ home field.
Man (24-5) advances to play Region 2 champion Moorefield (17-14) on Wednesday around 11:30 a.m. or noon in the opening round of the Class A state tournament at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna.
The other Class A state tourney opener has undefeated and No. 1-ranked Wheeling Central (30-0) taking on Williamstown (15-14) on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.
Thursday’s Man-Fayetteville game was a thriller as Fayetteville stranded nine baserunners and the Lady Billies left eight.
The game started with Man junior catcher Sydney Keffer drilling a two-out double to center. Senior Cydnee Lambert struck next with what seemed to be a routine fly ball to left field. Ultimately as the catch was made, the ball popped out of the fielder’s glove and scored Keffer giving Man the 1-0 advantage.
The Man defense was able to sit the Lady Pirates down in order in the bottom of the first.
The second and third innings saw scattered hits from both squads.
It was in the bottom of the fourth that the Lady Billies’ defense stepped up big.
Fayetteville’s offense was able to load the bases with a series of singles including two successful bunts.
Lady Pirates’ right fielder Samantha Holbrook then popped out to third. Center fielder Courtney Hamilton hit a short fly to left field. Man sophomore left fielder Morgan Muncy then made a sliding catch and was able to double Madison Prichard up at second to end the inning.
The momentum continued for the Lady Billies as freshman shortstop Chelsie Vance made it to first safely on a bunt and stole second on the next pitch.
Senior Savannah McCormack advanced Vance to third on a sacrifice bunt.
Man plated their second and final run of the game when senior Emilee Toler flew out to center, scoring Vance and giving Man the 2-0 edge.
Fayetteville answered in the bottom of the fifth with three straight singles on a two-out rally which scored sophomore pitcher Ashley Fridley.
With the score 2-1, Man threatened on offense when the trio of junior Grace Cline and sophomores Madison Paynter and Emilee Walker all made it to base safely to load them up for the Lady Billies with one out.
However, it was two infield pop outs that followed to end the rally for Man.
The sixth inning was nothing doing for the Lady Pirates, as was the top of the seventh for Man.
Fayetteville battled in the bottom of the seventh but ended the game with runners on second and third.
Offensively for Man, Paynter was 3-for-3 with three singles. Keffer was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Walker and Vance also added hits for Man.
Fridley took the loss on the hill for Fayetteville. She struck out six, allowed eight hits and walked none.
Walker was the winning pitcher for Man as she fanned five, walked two and allowed eight hits.
2016 Man High School
Softball Schedule (24-5):
March 22: at Westside, W 9-0
March 23: Mount View, W 18-0
March 25: at Van, W 14-0
March 29: River View, W 10-0
March 30: Pikeview (DH), W 13-0, W 14-6
March 31: at Scott, W 1-0
March 31: vs. Poca (at Chapmanville tourney), L 2-10
April 1: vs. Westside (at Chapmanville tourney), W 11-0
April 2: vs. Nicholas County (at Chapmanville tourney), W 10-1
April 2: vs. Mingo Central (at Chapmanville tourney), W 10-0
April 6: Chapmanville, L 0-9
April 7: at Logan, L 0-8
April 11: at Mingo Central, W 11-0
April 12: Sherman, W 9-5
April 13: at River View, W 19-0
April 14: at Tug Valley, W 12-0
April 18: at Buffalo, W 11-1
April 19: at Chapmanville, L 0-2
April 20: at Wyoming East, W 1-0
April 21: Westside, W 5-1
April 25: Van, W 10-0
April 26: at Sherman, W 8-0
April 28: Logan, W 2-1
April 29: Buffalo, W 3-2
April 30: Wyoming East, L 1-3
May 3: Tug Valley (Class A sectional tourney), W 7-0 (forfeit)
May 12: at Sherman (Class A regional semifinals), W 10-1
May 19: at Fayetteville (Class A regional final), W 2-1
May 25: vs. Moorefield (Class A state tourney), 11:30
May 25: vs. Wheeling Central/Williamstown (Class A state tourney), TBA
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).