BILL LUSK | WVOW SPORTS
MAN On a night they honored his uncle, sophomore Bo Thompson tossed a three-hit shutout as Class A No. 3 Man defeated sectional rival Tug Valley 10-0 in five innings Wednesday evening at William C. Tootie Carter Field.
Don Mullins and Oscar Davis were honored before Wednesday’s game with Tug Valley. Both individuals were stand out athletes for the Hillbillies in the late 50’s. Before the game, John Thomas Keffer, Mullins nephew and winning pitcher in the 2014 Class A state championship that delivered its first ever boys state championship, threw out the first pitch in honor of Davis and Mullins’ daughter, Kim Lusk, threw out the first pitch in honor of her late father.
After that, Thompson, who wears his uncle’s No. 11, took to the mound and delivered a gem, that would have made his uncle proud, allowing three hits and striking out six in five innings.
“It was special to have him out here tonight where we were celebrating Oscar Davis and Bo’s uncle Don Mullins,” Man coach Mike Crosby said. “It never donned on me at first, but he asked me if he could pitch tonight, and I was thinking about going a different direction.”
“When I got to thinking about it, we were honoring his uncle and it was only fitting to put him on the mound,” Crosby said.
Thompson ran his season record to 4-0 as he struck out four of the final seven hitters, he faced in the Tug Valley lineup.
“He always seems to get stronger as the game goes on,” Crosby said. “There is something about him, his velocity picks up and his location picks up really well.”
With Thompson in control on the mound, the 2-3-4 hitters in the Man lineup combined to go 6-for-9 with two home runs, a double, seven RBIs and five runs scored.
Jace Adkins was 2-for-3 with three runs driven in while Preston Blankenship was 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and Brady Hall-Montgomery went 2-for-3 with a solo home run, a double and two RBIs.
“They were definitely dialed in tonight and it was good to see,” Crosby said.
Adkins had run-scoring singles in the first and third inning and Blankenship and Hall-Montgomery went back-to-back as part of a three-run second inning for Man. The home run was the first of the high school career for Hall-Montgomery, who had come close to hitting a home run on three separate occasions this season before finally clearing the left center field fence in the second.
Man had 11 hits on the night as Colton Miller added two hits and scored two runs with Thompson and Drake Veres each delivering a hit and one RBI. Kaden Dickerson had one hit and Braxton Messer a double for the Hillbillies.
Ten of Man’s 12 hits came off Tug Valley starter Conner Lackey.
“He (Lackey) is no slouch by any means,” Crosby said. “They were patient, made him to come them and when he came to them, they got the bat on the ball.”
Lackey allowed nine runs in three innings. He struck out one and walked three in the loss. Nick Alley threw one inning of relief allowing one run on two hits and one strike out.
Man jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one inning with run-scoring singles from Adkins, Hall-Montgomery and Thompson. Courtesy runner Hayden Fraley scored the Hillbillies fourth run on a throwing error.
Man tacked on three more runs on Blankenship and Hall-Montgomery’s home runs in the second inning and added two more runs on Adkins’ two-run single in the third.
Veres rounded out the Man scoring in the fourth with a run-scoring single.
Zachary Hall, Lackey and Corey Wilson each had a single for Tug Valley.
“We put the bat on the ball for the most part,” Tug Valley coach Teddy Hall said. “I was pleased with the contact, it wasn’t real strong contact, but that was due to the pitching, and he (Thompson) didn’t give us much to hit.”