MAN - The Man Hillbillies picked up a wild and unconventional 8-6 victory over the Mingo Central Miners Monday at William "Tootie" Carter Athletic Field.
Man led 8-4 going into the seventh inning but a fielding error by shortstop Zack Frye allowed Logan Lester to reach base safely to start the frame.
Seth Goad followed with a walk and a throwing error by catcher Brock Muncy on attempted pickoff allowed Lester to score from second cutting the deficit to 8-5.
Reliever Jacob Trogdon got Seth Jude to strike out, but a fielding error by Jacob Frazier allowed Goad to score as the Miners to trim the deficit to 8-6.
Trogdon was relieved by starting pitcher Corey Miller, who walked Daylin Goad on four straight pitches.
Miller gave way to Frazier, who got Payton Ellis to strike out looking, but hit Isa Scales on an 0-2 fastball to load the bases setting the stage for Andrew Allen.
Allen lined a 2-2 pitch to right center field that appeared destined to clear the bases and give the Miners a lead, but right fielder Josh Lambert was able to track the ball down and make a game-ending tumbling catch to preserve the victory for the Hillbillies.
Man head coach Mike Crosby said that his team seems to know how to make things interesting.
"He (Josh) does make things interesting, but it seems like out there in right field he always seems to come up with it," Crosby said. "When I seen that he had a chance to catch it, I felt pretty good about it."
Lambert also had a key two-out two RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning to give Man a 7-4 lead.
"Josh had a big hit for us tonight with two RBI's," Crosby said. "You look back at it and that is the difference in the game."
Trogdon pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief to earn the victory. Trogdon gave up three runs, only one earned, on five hits, walked two and struck out six for the Hillbillies.
Man, which played error free baseball for six innings, overcame three seventh inning errors to hold off the Miners.
"Trogdon pitched really well and the thing that got us in the past nearly bit us in the seventh inning," Crosby said. "We hadn't committed an error up until the seventh inning and then we made three in the seventh inning."
Mingo Central trailed 4-1 after three innings and had chances to tie or go ahead in the fourth inning as the Miners plated two runs on a Daylin Goad bases loaded walk and a single to deep center field off the bat of Allen.
Mingo Central head coach Logan Lester held Levi Davis up at third on Allen's single, however, Goad, who was on second failed to see Lester stop Davis at third base.
Goad was tagged out as he attempted to head back to second base by shortstop Zack Frye, who received a perfect throw from center fielder Cameran Frye, to end the inning and keep Man ahead 4-3.
"We probably had some guys that don't have the best speed, but you anticipate the guys making the plays," Lester said. "I anticipated the second base to catch and throw like you always do and he bobbled it. I should have still sent him, which would have made it a one-run game and gave us a better chance at the plate, but that is the way it goes."
Lester was proud of the way his young team fought back especially down early in the contest.
"Down four runs, it is not looking too good and we get the bases loaded down two," Lester said. "Andrew hits a great shot and the right fielder makes a great play."
Levi Davis singled in the fifth inning to tie the contest at 4-4, but Man answered right back with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Cameran Frye reached base safely on an error by third basemen Daylin Goad. Frye stole second base and advanced to third on catcher Seth Goad's throwing error. As Frye was advancing to third, center fielder Ellis came up throwing to throw, but overthrew the third basemen allowing Frye to score giving Man a 5-4 lead.
"Nobody is ever going to outhustle Cameran," Crosby said. "He has been like that from Little League on up and if he is on the base paths then there are always things that are going to happen."
Mingo Central plated a run in the first inning to jump out to a quick 1-0 lead. Allen started the inning with a bunt single, moved to second on Trevor Belcher's groundout, advanced to thir on a wild pitch and scored on Seth Goad's double.
Man went ahead 2-1 in the second inning on Corey Miller's first home run of his high school career, a two-run shot over the left center field fence.
"That wasn't just a normal home run that was bullet with some backspin," Crosby said. "I think he (Corey) has a real bright future at Man High School and he pitched well tonight."
Man added two runs in the third inning as Zack Frye singled to plate Cameran Frye to make it 3-1.
The Hillbillies second run of the inning came when Zack Frye stole home off of Ellis, who failed to acknowledge Frye at third base, giving Man a 4-1 lead.
"Him and Coach (Jack) Daniels have been working on that all year," Crosby said. "I knew when he took off that as long as we didn't offer with the bunt that he was going to be safe."
Zack Frye's RBI groundout in the sixth scored Miller with the Hillbillies final run.
Miller started on the hill for the Hillbillies, however, he received a no-decision after tossing three-plus innings. Miller allowed three runs on two hits, walked five and struck out three.
Miller, who is a freshman, held the Miners to one run on just two hits in the first two innings, but control issues forced him from the game in the fourth after surrendering five walks.
"He just hit that home run, which was his first one, and he could have still been jacked up," Crosby said. "That is when all that started was when he went out for the next inning and that adrenaline was probably still pumping."
Frazier earned the save after pitching 2/3 innings. He hit one, struck out one and got Allen to line out to end the game.
Davis, a Man High School transfer, had one hit and drove in two runs while Allen and Seth Goad each had two hits and drove in one run for Mingo Central. The Miners got one hit apiece from Belcher and Lance Lester and got an RBI from Daylin Goad.
Mingo Central falls to 5-14 on the season and is scheduled to travel to Class AA No. 8 Scott for a doubleheader on Wednesday. The Miners return home to close out the regular season with home games against Class AA No. 3 Wayne on Thursday and Tolsia on Friday.
The Miners will likely be the sixth seed in next week's Class AA Region IV Section 2 tournament.
"We have been playing our better ball here lately," Lester said. "Hopefully we can build off of each game and take that with us into sectional play."
Miller had a two-run home run while Zack Frye and Lambert each had a hit and two RBIs to lead Man at the plate. Cameran Frye had one hit and scored two runs while Brock Muncy, Gage Mullins, Dylan Privett and Trogdon each had one hit for the Hillbillies.
Man improved to 7-14 on the season and is scheduled to travel to Belfry (Kentucky) on Tuesday before traveling to Class AA No. 9 and county rival Chapmanville. Man returns home to close out the regular season against Tug Valley on Thursday and Class AA No. 8 Scott on Friday.
"I know we have only won seven games, but I think I am the happiest seven-win coach in the state," Crosby said. "I definitely see improvement, but still yet tonight we didn't put seven complete innings together. We put six together tonight, so I am hoping these last few games we can put seven together."
Bill Lusk is a news and sports reporter for the Logan Banner and can be reached at 304-896-5198.