CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Man High School baseball Coach Larry Vance has been dealing with different kinds of problems associated with early season postponements, cancellations and alterations to a schedule.
The unseasonably cold spring has forced only three postponements to the Hillbillies' schedule, but the installation of new lights at Man's field has done even more damage to its early season slate.
The new lights - which replaced the rundown lighting system at Man - were installed in February and the trucks and other equipment used to erect damaged the field and instrastructure. The lights and posts were sitting at the high school tennis courts in June, Vance said.
Man's first official home game at its field was scheduled for Saturday against Lincoln County, although it wasn't played because of rain.
"The big trucks crushed our drains so the drains had to be redone, so we finally got our field playable today (Thursday)," said Vance, in his 11th season guiding the Hillbillies. "When we played Catholic (March 20), the opener, that was the first game our boys had seen ground balls."
Man lost that game 12-2 against last year's Class A semifinalist.
On Thursday against Valley at Smithers - a 13-3, five-inning defeat, the Hillbillies (0-6) were defensively indecisive, rushing throws and missing opportunities.
"A lot of the stuff we were doing early we haven't even gone over yet," Vance said. "We haven't had any routine."
Man reached the State Tournament under Vance in 2005, '09 and '10. Although last year's team didn't reach the final four at Appalachian Power Park, it had 10 seniors, including first team All-State player Jordan Simpson.
On Thursday against Valley, Man had seven players - including designated hitter Mitchell Morris - who were freshmen or sophomores.
One of the seniors was leadoff hitter Chris Justice, who is in his first season, and shortstop Cody Carter, the No. 7 hitter. One of two juniors was pitcher and catcher Cayce Mullins, who went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBI in the loss.
"This is by far the youngest team I've had varsity wise," Vance said. "I think, by the end of the year, we'll be OK. They can tell you I've been positive with them. I'm not on them as much. I don't think I've even raised my voice much."
As for the field.