MAN, W.Va. — Punching your ticket to state is good, but getting a bit of revenge while doing it is even better.
The Wahama baseball team will be going dancing for the first time in six years after beating the Man Hillbillies on the road 5-1 Tuesday evening to win the Region IV Championship.
The White Falcons (25-5) won Game 1 of the series 10-0 in six innings at home Monday.
It was the Hillbillies (20-11) who ended the White and Red’s 2021 campaign, so the road team was looking to even the score.
Tuesday’s ballgame was very defense-heavy to start, with both squads struggling to get much offense going through the first three innings.
The White Falcons got on the board in a big way in the top of the fourth inning, with Aaron Henry hitting a 2-run homer over the right field wall to bring himself and Ethan Gray home.
The White and Red added onto their score in the fifth, netting three more runs to take a 5-0 lead.
First, Henry was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, allowing Ethyn Barnitz to come home.
Trey Ohlinger followed that up with a single to bring in Logan Roach.
Hayden Lloyd finished things by hitting a single to bring home Gray.
However, the Hillbillies slightly cut into the Wahama lead, getting one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The White Falcon defense was able to keep Man to one runner through the last two innings of the ballgame, sealing the win.
Along with the home run, Henry got the win on the pitcher’s mound for the White Falcons, allowing only three hits, one run and five walks while striking out seven in 6.2 innings pitched.
Bryce Zuspan took over on the mound to get that game-clinching final out.
Wahama head coach Billy Zuspan said Henry was a huge part in the White Falcons’ victory.
“When you put him on the mound, he just goes out there and competes,” he said. “He gave us 110 great pitches, then you add the home run onto that.”
Since their loss to Ravenswood in the winner’s bracket final of the Section 2 tournament, the White and Red have won five consecutive games — something Zuspan said has to do with his team’s drive.
“They’re always hungry for the next win,” he said. “Now we’re going to reset and get ready for this trip to Charleston. They’ve been looking forward to this for a long time so we’ll see how it goes.”
The White Falcons outhit their opponents 5-3 and committed one error.
Leading the White and Red in hits was Nathan Fields with two.
Rounding out the Wahama hitting were Henry, Ohlinger and Lloyd.
Getting hits for the Hillbillies were Jace Adkins, Brady Hall-Montgomery and Braxton Messer.
The 2022 WVSSAC Class A Baseball Championships start June 2 at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100