MAN — The Man High School baseball team is headed back to the West Virginia State Baseball Tournament next week in Charleston for the third straight time as the Hillbillies defeated Greater Beckley Christian 1-0 on Thursday night in the Class A Region 3 championship game at Man’s Dr. Juan Nordelo Field before a packed house.
Man senior Jake Adkins pitched six strong innings and Cameron Simpson came in and recorded the save in the two-hit shutout, while Seth Chapman got the game winning RBI and went 3 for 3 at the plate for Man as it advanced to the big dance.
Man (12-16) is scheduled to play Wahama (20-10) on Friday at 1 p.m. at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park in the Class A state tourney.
It’s a rematch of last year’s Class A state title game which was won by Wahama 7-0.
Adkins got GBC out in order in the top of the first inning on two ground outs and then fanned Noah Miller to end the inning.
Man then went out in order in the bottom of the first frame as Crusader hurler Tanner Ray got Simpson to fly out to center and then struck out Kenny Jo Adkins and John Thomas Keffer for a scoreless first inning of play.
Adkins then got Stephen Bjork to ground out to second and then struck out both Sam Bosley and Garrett Matherly.
Chapman got his first of three hits to start Man out in the bottom of the second stanza off Ray.
Tyler Blair then flew out to center for the first out and then Nick Collins hit into a double play to halt the second inning.
Adkins was still in control of the game as he got Brett Riffe to ground out and then fanned Cole Kipps and Brett Green to end the top of the third.
Austin Gent walked to start Man’s home half of the third inning. Dylan Goodman then fanned, John McCoy then laid down a sac bunt to move Gent over the second with two outs. Ray then walked Simpson as Gent went to third on a wild pitch but was stranded as Kenny Jo Adkins grounded out to second for the third out.
GBC got its first hit off off Adkins in the top of the fourth inning on a one-out single by the pitcher Ray. Noah Miller then fanned for the second out and Ray got out on a rundown between first and second base for the third out.
Chapman got his second hit of the game with one out but was stranded as Blair popped up to left field and Collins fanned to end the inning.
Stephen Bjork led off with a single in the top of the fifth what turned out to be there final hit of the game.
Adkins then fanned Sam Bosley and Bjork was tossed out stealing for the second out and Adkins then go Garrett Matherly to ground out to end the inning.
Man’s Gent led off the bottom of the fifth and Brandon Cook then came in to run for Gent. Cook went to second on a wild pitch by Ray. Goodman laid down a sac bunt moving Cook to third.
Man head coach Larry Vance then rolled the dice as McCoy tried to lay down a bunt on squeeze play and missed the ball and Cook was out at plate to end the threat.
Adkins got Greater Beckley out in order in the top of the sixth.
Simpson ripped a solid double to lead off the inning. Kenny Jo Adkins laid down a sac bunt to move Simpson to third. Keffer then got an infield hit but Simpson had to hold at third. Then Chapman stepped up to the plate and delivered what proved to be the game winning RBI hit to score Simpson to make it 1-0. Blair then hit into a double play to end the rally.
Adkins, who had pitched three innings on Tuesday against Sherman, got tired in the top of the seventh, walking the leadoff batter Will Mullins and then went 2-0 on Ray.
Coach Larry Vance then called Simpson to the mound.
Ray then walked to give the Crusaders runners on first and second with no out.
Simpson got Noah Miller to fly out, fanned Bjork for the second out and got the final out of the game on a ground out to Keffer at third to preserve the win and send the Hillbillies to the state tournament for the third straight year in their final season in Class A.
“Jake shut them out and did a fanstatic job,” Coach Vance said. ” He threw three innings against Sherman Tuesday. We were hoping to get three or four innings out of him. We were tickled to death he got us six innings and Cam came in both times and got us out of it. And Seth stayed within himself and got three hits including the game winner. This was a great game. We played great defense. It was a pressure packed game. We are going to need this again next week.”
Man had five hits — three singles by Chapman and the game winning and only RBI of the game while Simpson and Gent had one hit each.
Greater Beckley had just two hits — one each by losing pitcher Ray and one by Bjork.
Adkins had nine strikeouts and walked two. Simpson fanned one.