Charleston – Man was hoping some of its championship success in basketball would translate to baseball.
It was helped enough to make a run to the Class A title game, but the Hillbillies ran into the buzzsaw that is Moorefield.
The Yellow Jackets hammered out five runs in the third inning, hanging on for an 11-8 win over Man in the Class A championship Saturday at Power Park in Charleston.
With the win Moorefield became the second school in Class A history to three-peat, joining Van (1991-93).
Man struck first, scoring twice in the second inning, but as they did in their walk-off semifinal win against Williamstown on Friday, the Yellow Jackets roared back with high-scoring innings.
“Everybody’s always picking each other up no matter what the situation is,” Moorefield head coach Wade Armentrout. “We’ve had guys that have stepped up in big situations. Jayden Moore had a great tournament, did well at the plate. Our pitchers came through today, we banged out 15 hits against a really good team … They’re just great guys that aren’t selfish. They do things that help the team.”
Despite a shaky first in which Man issued two free passes and committed an error, the Billies looked in control early.
They drew first blood in the second inning when Brady Hall singled and scored when Caleb Vance hit a one-out RBI single. Cam Frye followed Vance with a walk and Jace Adkins, who walked after Hall’s initial hit, scored on a Caleb Blevins sac-fly to right.
That gave the Billies a 2-0 advantage.
It was quickly slashed in half.
Matt Jenkins opened the bottom of the frame with a double, eventually scoring on a wild pitch.
The floodgates opened in the third.
Hayden Baldwin got things rolling with a double, a hit that preceded three more Yellow Jacket knocks. The barrage was enough to chase Man starter Caleb Blevins but his replacement fared no better, securing just two outs in the five-run frame before he was pulled.
When the smoke cleared Moorefield led 5-2.
“We seemed to have some trouble picking out pitches that we wanted to swing at in the strike zone,” Armentrout said. “We had to do a little bit of an adjustment there on how picky we were going to be. But we were able to adjust our swings and get a lot of hits against a really good team.”
Man bounced back with two runs in the fourth courtesy of another Blevins sac-fly and wild pitch, adding one more on the fifth on an error at short to make it 6-5.
But each time the Billies got off the ropes the Yellow Jackets brought the sting.
It came almost immediately.
The bottom of the fifth brought another avalanche with Karson Reed, Hayden Baldwin and Matt Jenkins driving in three of the Jackets’ four runs that inning. Reed drove in another run in the sixth, his third RBI of the game, staking Moorefield to an 11-7 lead.
Man put it to the test in the top of the seventh.
Hall kicked things off with a walk and Adkins followed with a single to give the Billies a threat. Vance kept it rolling with an RBI single that scored Hall, but Adkins was thrown out attempting to take third. The threat died there as Bryce Hines retired the next two batters, securing Moorefield’s third title in as many seasons.
“We fell just a little bit short but we ran into a buzz saw today,” Man head coach Mike Crosby said. “Moorefield, it seems like they carried over that momentum from that emotional win that they had coming from behind in that rally yesterday. Darn they hit the ball. I changed pitchers about five times and ended up coming back to my starter. I tried every way in the world and my assistant coaches tried every way in the world to put the fire out but man they just kept hitting the baseball.”
Man finishes its season with a 22-9 record while Moorefield finishes at 22-5.
Class A All Tournament: Bryce Hines, Moorefield; Jace Adkins, Man; Isaac VanMeter, Moorefield; Izak Young, Charleston Catholic; Leewood Molessa and Ethan Holbert, Williamstown; Matthew Jenkins & Jayden Moore, Moorefield; Ryan Cozart & Casey Hurley, Man.
Contact Tyler Jackson at email@example.com, call him at 304-731-5542 and follow on Twitter @tjack94
Man: 020 212 1 – 8 7 3
Moorefield: 015 041 x – 11 15 3