CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Man High finally won a baseball state championship game, and it only took four hours, 10 innings and five RBIs from the No. 9 hole hitter.

It also took a miraculous bounce on a seventh-inning wild pitch that foiled Notre Dame’s chance at a walkoff win.

But when the suspenseful Class A marathon game ended at last—with Notre Dame’s tying runs on board, of course—Man coach Larry Vance soaked up the 12-10 victory and was nearly moved to tears.

“I’m trying not to break down,” he said, “but how about that?”

How about Kenny Jo Adkins, the skinny sophomore planted at the bottom of the lineup, twice giving Man the lead with two-run doubles? The second one broke a 7-7 tie in the top of the 10th, sparking a five-run outburst that, thanks to yet another Irish rally, almost wasn’t enough.

Adkins went 3-for-5, knocking in five runs and potentially saving that many with two sliding catches in left field.

“I’ve never had a day like this before,” he said.

“I’ve never had a day like this before.” Man’s No. 9 hitter Kenny Jo Adkins after a five-RBI title game

And how about the crazy ending to the bottom of the seventh, when Notre Dame knotted the game and had the bases loaded when a two-out pitch skipped past catcher Cayce Mullins? Fortuitously for Mullins, the ball ricocheted back toward the plate, where he flipped to reliever Mikle Rowe just in time to tags out Jordan Miller racing home from third.

“With that wall, the ball could’ve kicked either way. We were very fortunate it bounced back to us,” said the Man catcher, who had four hits himself.

And how about the Hillbillies—winners of just six games last year–forging a chumps-to-champs turnaround?

“Last year, we didn’t have a good season, but now here we are,” Mullins said. “We still believed, though. We said from Day One this season that we’d be in Charleston.”

And once they made it to Charleston, the Hillbillies (21-11) only had to beat Class A’s top two teams: St. Marys (29-3) and Notre Dame (27-7).

Man collected 18 hits Saturday, including three from center fielder Braden Griffin, who caught Miller’s game-ending line drive after the Irish had rallied for three runs in the last of the 10th.

Said Griffin: “As soon as it came off the bat I knew were going home.”

John Keffer got the pitching win, allowing three runs in three innings of relief. Notre Dame’s Tyler McKinsey, solid for four innings, gave up four runs in the 10th and took the loss.

Notre Dame’s DJ Murphy had a monstrous game in defeat, going 5-for-6 with four RBIs. That included a two-run double in the final inning.

Murphy ripped a two-run single and Josh Baker lifted a sac-fly to as Notre Dame took a 3-1 lead in the third.

Man scored three times to grab a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth—the go-ahead runs posted on a two-out double by Adkins.

“We knew we’d get here, and we brought Hillbilly Country.” — Man catcher Cayce Mullins

Anthony Belcastro doubled and scored on Morrison’s sac-fly to tie the game at 4-all in the bottom half.

Man chased Notre Dame starter Jordan Miller in a three-run fifth,  going ahead 7-4 on Rowe’s RBI single and Noah Maynard’s double that skipped past diving right fielder Chad Morrison.

Belcastro’s two-run, sixth-inning single greeted Man reliever Rowe and cut the deficit to 7-6. When Belcastro was stranded at third, it seemed the game might have used up its last bit of drama.

Yet the game stretched on, matching the longest West Virginia state championship game on record.

“My head was spinning the whole time,” said Griffin, who cried as he hugged coaches and fans who flowed onto the infield.

Mullins squatted nearby, still sporting his shin guards and looking drained but satisfied.

“We knew we’d get here,” he said, “and we brought Hillbilly Country.”

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Comments

  • Candy (Conn) Adkins

    Very proud of the Man Hillbillies.. Way to go boys!!!! Haven't lived in Man for almost 20yrs but I couldn't be more proud..... !!

  • Aaron

    I think of all the fields I went to over eight years of high school baseball Man was one of the best. Congratulations to the Hillbillies and their fans who were super nice to us from we played there.

  • SPRUCEKNOB

    Congratulations Man. anytime a private school gets beat by a public school I am happy.

  • Coach

    Lol. Wow!! Some people! I know it's hard to see an underdog team come and take what they think should be theirs but COME ON!! Y'all seriously think Man has players from different areas coming in to play ball?! Haha!! They grew up here,I know,I coached these boys when they were kids. Some amazingly talented kids I might add. These boys were meant to play sports and have worked VERY hard to get where they are today. They are very dedicated kids who actually appreciate the game and take playing ball VERY seriously. That's just what happens when you want something bad enough,you'll get it. And to talk about Man not having noting to offer,well we are having a hard time with the coal industry and all but that just goes to show you that in the hardest of times we still come out on top. Man is an awesome town and I'm VERY glad I grew up there and graduated from Man High. Take it or leave it boys,WE ARE STATE CHAMPS!!! VERY PROUD of y'all and EVEN MORE PROUD to have had the chance to coach these boys and teach these boys how to play. Just one happy Hillbilly here!!! Congrats boys!! Way to bring that Blue Funk!!

  • Wildbillycat

    I cannot believe you people would try and sabotage the victory of the Man High baseball team .. Every single one of those kids have lived at man their whole lives , these kids are legends to the hillbilly nation ... Generations ..... I cannot believe you would try and thrown them down because they won the state championship .. These kids have played sports for years , we as a community take pride in the sports our children participate in .. From little league , to midget league football and cheer... We may be a small town , but we raise our children right and show them what good sportsmanship is all about .. I just can't believe some if the accusations and statements you people are posting ... Seriously ... Those boys worked hard and they succeeded ... You people should be proud of these young men and celebrate the victory with us besides acting the way you are and saying the things you are saying .....SHAME ON YOU !!!!!!! good job Man Hillbillies ... And by the way I was born and raised at man but my daughters a Logan Wildcat ... And she's still proud of her mothers hometown...
    ❤️

  • Jake

    Lots of butthurt Irish up in here.

    • Seriously?

      Pretty sad that these boys can't just enjoy their victory. Congratulations to the Man baseball team! It's a shame that jealousy over their win is garnering so much attention! Shame on you "laid off miner with a legitimate bad back" for starting this! Maybe instead of negativity you should congratulate these boys for the hard work they've put into this win. Pretty sad state of affairs when an "adult" feels the need to cut down a bunch of kids and the community that supports them!

  • College Ave

    Dear Pam Harvey,

    Please, please, please name the private high school that, apparently, offered your daughter a scholarship to play volleyball.

    Thanks.

  • Bobbi

    What about that Mexican #8 lol

    • Pam Harvey

      bahahahahahahah...ya talkin bout dirty Mike.....davey hollow..buffalo creek

  • Jason

    From a Tiger fan, congrats to Man. Glad to see you guys bring home a title to Logan County this weekend.

  • BamaUSFdaD

    Congratulations to Man HS,
    from an Irish Dad

    • proud hillbillie

      class act, thanks

  • Think about it

    Okay let's think about this. Everyone tells me that Private schools recruit and private schools cheat. But has anyone checked the Man players. I won't name any names but I know for a fact that one player lives in Logan but was recruited to play for Man! How do you people explain that! I also heard another kid lives in Kentucky but was bribed to come to Man! I don't know if this part is true but from what I've heard I would not be surprised!

    • Parent

      Hold up, that kid spent 1/2 semester at Logan! He was born and raided in man! And we don't have a kid from Kentucky! We won our championship without recruiting!

    • Player

      Think about it, neither kid you are refering to even start varsity? The kid who lives in Logan, his mother is from Man. Born and raised.. As for the Kentucky kid. But like I said, neither start so what's the ruckus?

    • Get a life

      You sir have no idea what you're talking about Man has NEVER recruited a player the boy you are talking about has went to man all but one year, he played all through little league at Man!

    • Pam Harvey

      As far as the student from Logan, he has been a student at Man all his life, went to Logan for a year and came back to his friends and stays with his grandmother. No idea who the kid from Kentucky is. Find it hilarious. Funny thing is all these boys played for Man Little League. Get your facts straight before leave anonymous comments!!!

      • Think about it

        Pam don't play dumb the kid from Kentucky had two hits today. Enjoy your tainted trophy because next year the Private schools will win it fair and square

        • REALLY

          Man won... get over yourself.
          if ND would have won it wouldn't be a tainted trophy? What about the homeplate umpire being a father in law to one of the coaches? That is what was told to the man people. And there was a women from ND who approached one of our parents and told them that this was ND's year... I think they thought having an umpire on there side would do the job. Well the umpire helped them in many ways, but he cant take away the fact that MAN had 18 hits against your "stellar" ball club and the MAN HILLBILLIES are. the state champs.. Face it bud, it is the YEAR OF THE GOAT! Good day.

        • Pam Harvey

          I am honestly laughing my ass off. Pretty pathetic. Noone on our lineup is from nor lived in Kentucky. Try again!!

          • Honestly

            Under Belfry Pirate '73, I obviously made that up. As being connected to private schools, all these absurd comments is what we deal with after any sporting event when we win. We DO NOT RECRUIT, and if people have to make up stories to make themselves feel better, then go ahead. Make something up. Congrats to Man, they have a good baseball team.

      • Think about it

        Pam don't play dumb the kid from Kentucky had two hits today. Enjoy your tainted trophy because next year the Private schools will win it fair and square.

        • Over this all

          oh my, you are referring to John Thomas Keffer. Big KY Wildcat fan, not from Ky though...born and raised in Spice Creek Mingo/Logan line. sorry :)

        • Belfry Pirate '73

          I agree with you 'Just Think About It', that kid should have been ours if it weren't for this recruiting industry held in Man.

    • Bob Beckal

      Sounds like a jealous Wildcat..... lol

      • Mark Howard

        Bob. If you are referencing me... I live no where close to Logan and am far removed from high school sports.

    • Mark Howard

      You all took my ol friend Hurleys statement the wrong way. He was saying the kids go to private schools for the education. He wasn't meaning that anyone actually throw 90 or played like Mays. Why are we trying to move this away from a congratulations to the Man Hillbillies! On average the best A schools are not the caliber that the best AAA schools are. That is degrading no one. Larger schools have a better chance of having more "better" players.

  • Jeff Hurley

    Can't argue with these guys Pam. They are rite. Not much economic opportunity in the man area. Obama has done his best to squash us out. But what they just don't get Pam is how we continue to make it. Provide for our kids. Earn a living with an honest day of hard work. Still say yes sir and yes ma'am. Always look out for each other. Then come to the big city and beat one of their private institutions. See Pam stuff like that just isn't supposed to happen. It makes no sense to most. But we understand it perfectly. Enjoy this Pam. It may be a long time before we get another one. And as for the recruiting Pam, it's the academics that the kids are recruited for. Not the fact that the kid throws 90 mph and hits like Willie Mays.

    • Ian

      How many kids Jeff fit your description of plays like Willy Mays in West Virginia class A? I know it is easy to say that the Private schools recruit but does that even make sense to you?

    • Pam Harvey

      hahahahahaha...right...academics!!! Yeah..sure, they ask about my daughters GPA first.....lol...and they call us small minded..If you're not one of us, you wouldn't understand!!

      • Richard

        Well Pam I mean Lets be honest Man in the past has been known to be I guess you could say somewhat small minded. I'm not trying to be mean but the numbers do not lie as far as the Private school system works. the overall State Championship rings do not lie and neither do the Ivy League schools

        • Pam Harvey

          What numbers are you referencing?? Test scores or # of championships...please make sure to clear that up before you start speaking of my small mindedness. We are simply saying that to believe that private schools dont recruit athletes is absolutely absurd. As far as test scores, Man High raised the bar on the Westtest. We wouldnt say a thing if they would have their own private state tournament.

  • JWP

    Congrats Billies

  • Laid off miner with legitimate bad back

    Congrats to Man, it's always great to see a school from an area that has absolutely nothing else going for it win a championship!!

    • Pam Hall

      I am not from Man, but have known these players from Man for about eight years and you people on here trying to take away from their win is pathetic. I was also a coal miner for 27 years and I see that you have a illegitimate bad attitude to go along with that bad back. Jealousy is not becoming to you people. They played two almost perfect games to get that trophy and they deserve every ounce of praise they have received. Go crawl in a hole somewhere and lick your wounds. They aren't losing many players so you may have a hard row to hoe the next few years also. I've taken pictures of every boy that played in those games since Little League so the recruiting thing is a bit lame. Grow up and learn some sportsmanship. It's no wonder some of the kids act like they do.

    • Pam Harvey

      Please explain yourself. I beg to differ. We may be a small town but we have a great deal to offer...such as taking care of our own, loving each other kids as our own, looking out for one another,community love and support, and definitely school pride and spirit. No recruiting or free tuition needed to be a part of this family!!

      • Robbie

        I'm from Washington Patriots , parent,
        And we stood by some of you man parents to watch the game on Thursday night. I for one really enjoyed being part of your game. You are a classy bunch of people and I enjoyed talking to some of you.i was rooting hard for you to win the title, and congrats. We will see you all back next year!'nn

        • Pam Harvey

          Thank you Robbie!! Quite the compliment!! We are actually Nice, God fearing people, who love our town, the people in it, and are proud to be Hillbillies!!

      • Laid off miner with legitimate bad back

        I guess I just meant that people aren't exactly in a rush to move to Man, once Obama succeeds in killing coal, what kind of economic opportunities will the area have?

      • Big Sis

        Get him Pam!!!! Our kids have worked hard for this! Our football team went to playoffs girls volleyball went to states the cheerleaders came in runners-up in states and had one from the tennis team go to states and WE ARE STATE CHAMPIONS in baseball! These kids are outstanding talented kids and deserve the best! I would just about bet my right arm no other school can say they accomplished what they have this year! SOOOOO PROUD TO BE A BILLIE!!!!

      • Steve

        Congrats on the win, but don't make this about the ignorant "recruiting" argument. No, private schools do not recruit, and if Notre Dame or any other private school would have won, people would be complaining like last year when Charleston Catholic won.

        • Pam Harvey

          Not so ignorant when I have had someone approach me from a private school asking if my daughter would be interested in playing volleyball...Pipe down....you must have to pay for your child's tuition!!!

        • A concerned fan

          If private schools don't recruit, then how do you explain schools,that start almost all seniors and have no juniors, and come back the next year loaded with seniors again. They don't just sit out the juniors the previous year. Private schools have the same talent as triple A schools yet they are in the easiest class (technically hardest because of all the private schools) in the state. It's a tough argument but it's not fair to the single A schools who are fed from small towns to have to compete with schools that pull from anywhere including bigger cities.

          • Mighty Mighty Devil

            It's not only private schools but a certain public AAA school in Fairlea that recruit too. Instead of tuition and scholarships, parents are provided jobs. Are you listening Gary Ray? Just because the coach is a Billionaire doesn't mean he's above the rules.

          • Concerned fan

            Not so much baseball, but more in basketball and some football. Not all private schools do it but some do. I have nothing against private schools, but they do have advantages over single a public schools. For the record, Norte dame had a great baseball team that was not a recruited team.

          • Steve

            Give me a specific example. What sports are you talking about?

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Let's hear it for the Hillbillies!