The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

May 21, 2013

’Hounds hold off upset bid from Man Hillbillies

SMITHERS — Valley’s potent offense never came to life, but the Greyhounds are still alive.

Valley (22-7) — with several players hitting .400 or better this season — could muster just three singles against underdog Man (6-20-1) in one of two Class A Region 3 baseball semifinals Tuesday, but the ’Hounds manufactured two runs in the crucial fifth inning to finally go ahead of the stubborn Hillbillies and escape with a 3-2 victory.

“That’s the thing about baseball,” said Valley coach Joe Craffey, whose team was No. 6  in The Charleston Gazette’s most recent statewide rankings. “You can throw the records out (when tournaments start).

“We told the players all week that they can’t rest on their laurels. It (the lack of offensive production) concerns me at this point. We didn’t have one run batted in. If we can’t hit the ball, we’re not going far.”

Trailing 1-0, Man pushed across single runs in the second and third innings (the first coming on an RBI single from Neil Mullins and the second on a run-scoring double by Cayce Mullins), and the visitors — with left-handed pitcher Braden Griffin keeping Valley largely in check — made the 2-1 margin stand up until the bottom of the fifth.

That’s when the Greyhounds started relying more on the basepaths than the bats.

Drew Jones started the bottom of the fifth with a bunt single. He advanced to second on a passed ball, stole third and later crossed home plate on another passed ball, knotting the game at 2-2. Fellow senior Arik McGinnis, who reached on a walk, stole second to get into scoring position. Druw Bowen launched a long fly ball to deep centerfield, and the Hillbillies attempted to get courtesy runner Kyler Smith at second base for the third out. They were unsuccessful, and McGinnis — who had tagged and moved to third — sprinted home for the go-ahead run.

“Coach Craffey just gave me the call, and I did what I’m supposed to,” said Jones. “He’s got faith in me.

“That (inning) got us the momentum. We didn’t hit the ball as well as we normally do, but we played small ball well and played defense behind our pitchers.”

Jones had staked Valley to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when he drew a walk, took second on a throwing error on a pick-off attempt, stole third and scored when — after the steal — a routine relay back to the mound went over Griffin’s head.

“They scored that first run without a hit,” lamented Man coach Larry Vance. “And the last runs, they kind of forced the issue.

“We had only two seniors, but we had 6-7 guys that just the experience (will help moving ahead),” added Vance. “The next three to four years we should be pretty solid.”

Bowen, Valley’s starting pitcher, went just one inning on the mound — facing five Man  batters and yielding two singles — before being pulled due to elbow trouble after he tried to warm up for the second.

Playing at shortstop as the game wound down, Bowen made a nice diving knockdown of a hard-hit Cody Carter line drive and tossed the ball to Jones for the game’s final out.

In relief of Bowen, starting catcher Cody Winter shed his protective gear and took the mound for the ‘Hounds for innings 2-6. He struggled a little in the early going before settling down and keeping Man in check, including making two nice hustle plays in the infield.

“Give Cody a lot of credit,” said Craffey. “He gave us four good innings.

“He got better as the game wore on. And he had no idea when he  came to the park that he would be pitching.”

“Our approach at the plate tonight was awful,” said Winter. “We strung together a couple of hits. This keeps us alive.

“It took me a couple of innings to warm up after catching, but I just got in a groove,” he added.

McGinnis, who will start the Region 3 final, pitched the final two innings to earn the save.

“Toward the end we finally caught on and got in a groove,” he said. “Cody started us off good, and I told Coach I was ready whenever he needed me.

“We just have to go out Thursday and hit the ball.”

Valley plays at Fayetteville Thursday with a state tournament berth on the line. The Greyhounds will be in search of their third straight state tourney berth, while the Pirates will be seeking to return to Charleston for the first time since 2010.

In the lone regular season meeting this season, Valley beat Fayetteville 10-0 on April 11.

— E-mail: skeenan

M:    011    000    0    —    2 5 1

V:    100    020    x    —    3 3 1

M: Braden Griffin, Cody Carter (6) and Cayce Mullins, V: Druw Bowen, Cody Winter (2), Arik McGinnis (6) and Cody Winter, John Riddle (2) and Winter (6). WP — Winter. LP — Griffin. Save - McGinnis. Hitting — M: Cayce Mullins 1-3 (2b, rbi), Neil Mullins 1-3 (rbi), Carter 1-2, Noah Maynard 1-3, John Keffer 1-4, V: Todd Coleman 2-3, Drew Jones 1-2

Records: M: 6-20-1; V: 22-7.

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene's No. 75

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are retiring Hall of Fame defensive end Joe Greene's number No. 75.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers' Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le'Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.

    July 30, 2014

  • Charges dropped against WVU RB Smallwood

    Prosecutors said all charges against 20-year-old Wendell Smallwood, who had been charged with witness tampering in the case, have been dropped.

    July 30, 2014

  • cato Word is out on Marshall's Cato

    Rakeem Cato is easily the face of Marshall football. He also has been mentioned as a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. That status is legitimate.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

  • Terre Haute hands Miners 2-1 loss in 11 innings

    Ryan Sabo singled home Clayton Smithson in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Rex to the win and put the West Virginia Miners’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy

    July 30, 2014

  • WVU’s Smallwood waives preliminary hearing

    West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood, arrested on a felony charge of witness intimidation in a first-degree murder case, waived his preliminary hearing Monday, his case now being moved to Superior Court, where more serious crimes are argued, according to The News Journal.

    July 29, 2014

  • Steelers LB Spence caps lengthy comeback

    The whistle blew and Sean Spence sprinted forward, each cathartic step distancing the linebacker from the horrific knee injury that threatened to end his NFL career before it even really began.

    July 29, 2014

Saints Training Camp