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Preparing for State Baseball Tournament: Man survives 9 mistakes and defeats Catholic in Class A semifinals | Baseball

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The Nine Man won despite the Nine Man.

The Hillbillies (22-9) made nine mistakes but still beat Charleston Catholic 7-3 Friday night in the Class A semifinals of the high school baseball tournament at Appalachian Power Park.

Man will meet two-time defending champion Moorefield (21-5), who scored three points in his last at bat to beat Williamstown 8-7 in the other semi, around 5 p.m. Saturday for the championship.

“If we don’t clean it up by tomorrow it’s going to cause problems,” Man coach Mike Crosby said.

The Hillbillies used a powerful effort from junior right-hander Ryan Cozart on the mound, as well as timely strikes to overcome their field errors.

Cozart allowed one earned run, five hits, three strikeouts and no goals in a full 98-pitch game.

“Ryan can drop a gnat in the air,” Crosby said. “His control was exceptional.

The man charged up the goals on a walkout, error and no-put-out single in the second inning before taking a 2-0 lead two outs later when Caleb Blevins doubled up on the right to score Brady Hall and Jace Adkins.

The Hillbillies extended their lead in the fourth, scoring again with two shots down. Preston Blankenship doubled up on the left and then scored on Casey Hurley’s single on the right. Cozart followed with a hit to the left to tackle Hurley to make it 4-0. Cozart went over the plate on Jace Adkins’ goal with the goals loaded for a 5-0 lead.

The Irish (25-12), who beat Man twice in the regular season, threatened in the fourth. With one out, Thomas Rennie shot an error and Michael Ferrell doubled up. Cozart, however, coaxed a second jump from Gage Tawney and a steal from Jeffrey Reynolds’ cross to negate the threat.

Charleston Catholic right fielder Izak Young made a superb diving catch on a Blankenship sacrificial fly to score Cam Frye in the fifth as Man took a 6-0 lead. Young was injured on the game and left the game.

The Irish broke the shutout in the sixth when Rennie scored on the Hillbillies’ seventh mistake to make it 6-1. The man, however, added a run in the seventh as Frye walked, stole the second, moved up to third on wild ground and scored on Hurley’s single to the left.

Charleston Catholic established the score in seventh with the help of two other rides. Reynolds hit a single, then scored on a mistake. Liam McGinley reached on an error that marked Gannon Morris.

Hurley went 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Blankenship was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Josh Lambert got 2 for 2, Adkins 2 for 3 and Cozart 2 for 5. Blevins led in two.