ASHTON, W.Va. — It had more twists and turns than even a roller coaster enthusiast could handle.
Through seven innings of ups and downs, the Hannan baseball team ultimately found no thrill at the end of Monday night’s ride during an 11-10 setback to visiting Teays Valley Christian in a non-conference matchup at the Craigo Athletic Complex in Mason County.
The host Wildcats (0-4) led 3-1 through one inning of play, but the Lions (1-7) answered with six runs — four of which came with some controversy — in the top half of the second while establishing an early four-run cushion.
HHS answered with three runs in its half of the second to close to within 7-6 and added another run in the third to knot things up at seven, but TVCS countered with three runs in the top of the fourth while securing a 10-7 edge through five full frames.
The Wildcats answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot things up again at 10-all, but the guests responded in the top half of the seventh as Jones singled in Hutchison with what proved to be the eventual game-winning run.
In the home half of the seventh, Dalton Coleman provided a one-out single, then stole second and advanced to third on an overthrow at second base — putting the tying run just 90 feet away with only one out.
Hannan, however, struck out in its next at-bat, then Coleman tried to score on a passed ball. The relay throw from the catcher at the backstop to the tagging pitcher at the plate was ruled in time — allowing Teays Valley Christian to hold on for the narrow one-run victory.
The biggest blow of the evening came in the top of the second as TVCS had just rallied to tie the game at three with two away in the frame.
Sid Ross entered the game in relief of HHS starter Christian Holland and, with the bases loaded, made a 1-1 offering to Jones. Jones — who hit a solo homer in the first — belted a long fly ball down the left field line.
The ball was in a direct line of sight with the sun as it carried over the outfield fence and was originally ruled a home run, which resulted in a grand slam. After an appeal by the Hannan bench and a lengthy discussion between the two umpires, the call held up — giving the Lions a 7-3 advantage.
That call ultimately didn’t sit well with HHS coach Tad Greathouse afterwards, but the fourth-year mentor was very proud of how well his troops handled the adversity and continued to battle through everything.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my guys because they did everything they were supposed to do to win this game tonight,” Greathouse said. “They showed a lot of heart, a lot of guts and a lot of resiliency tonight. Even when things didn’t go our way, we stuck to the plan and battled to do everything that we could control. I hate the way it ended up, but there isn’t another single thing that I could have asked for from these kids. I’ll take this kind of effort from my guys any night this season.”
The Wildcats outhit the guests by a slim 11-10 overall margin and also committed the only two errors of the contest. Three of the Lions’ 10 hits were also long balls, with Lucas hitting a pair and Smith also adding a two-run shot in the fourth.
Hannan used three pitchers in the contest, with Kevin Morehart taking the loss after allowing two runs, four hits and two walks over 3.2 innings of relief while striking out four. Breeding picked up the winning decision after surrendering zero runs, three hits and a walk over 1.1 innings of relief while fanning three.
Coleman led the hosts with three hits, followed by Corey Hudnall, Sawyer Casto and James Bledsoe with two safeties apiece. Nick Hughes and Matthew Qualls also had a hit each in the setback.
Coleman and Hudnall scored three runs apiece, while Hughes crossed home plate twice. Hughes, Casto, Bledsoe and Christian Holland each knocked in a run as well for the hosts.
Jones and Hutchison paced TVCS with two hits apiece, followed by Smith, Breeding, Lucas, Cox, Jones and Walker with a safety each.
Hannan returns to action Thursday when it hosts Buffalo at 5:30 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.