Wolverine baseball loses to Erwin at home 8-4Published 10:26pm Monday, March 17, 2014
Head Polk County High School baseball coach Ty Stott said he knows the Wolverines are often slow starters who need to build a measure of confidence. He also knows that will happen, and the players will never look back.
While they claimed their first win of the year on March 5, Polk still hasn’t put together a seven-inning performance where all the pieces have come together.
That will come with confidence, Stott said after Polk’s 8-4 loss to Erwin at Columbus on Tuesday, March 11.
Still searching for pitchers to fill the numbers two and three slots, Stott gave the ball to Wes Brady. Brady pitched well for two-plus innings, in spite of Erwin scoring a run in the first.
Brady, who will be playing college ball, also drilled three hits. He has already found his confidence, according to Stott.
Stott said he recently told his players, “we will reach our potential.”
Right now, however, in addition to building an effective pitching staff, some of the Wolverine issues are on offense.
“The key,” said Stott after the Erwin game, “is too many runners left on base.”
“We’re not getting a whole lot of breaks. In addition to balls hit right at fielders, too many fastballs across the plate go right into the catcher’s mitt without a swing.”
“You’ve got to show that pitcher that he has to be creative.”
Stott said once a few batters feel confident at the plate, it will spread.
“When it does (happen), we’ll all be doing it,” he said. “Right now, we’re not doing it. Wes had three hits. He has confidence.”
Stott is not looking for a team of fence-breakers, but knows that his players have the ability to make the pitcher throw strikes, and to make pitchers work hard for outs.
In other words, he knows that his players can be pests, who make pitching against them something less than fun.
“The breaks are contagious,” Stott said. “The pitching is contagious. I’m seeing some good signs.”
One sign is that, in spite of some starting pitching gaps, the Wolverines never give up, as evidenced in the late innings of both of their last games, including Monday’s 10-4 loss to East Henderson.
On Tuesday, Polk went to the home sixth down 8-2 against Erwin. Brady led off with a line hit to right center that he hustled into a double.
He could not advance on Morgan Groves’ groundout to short, but did make it to third when Daniel Painter smashed a ball to first for an out.
With two down, and Brady running on contact, Tyler Campbell grounded hard to short. When the fielder bobbled the ball and threw late to first, Brady scored, making it 8-3. Konner
Scruggs belted a liner to left center for a single that sent Campbell to third, but that was all the Wolverines could do in that frame.
Scruggs pitched the seventh, and while giving up a double to the base of the fence in center, held the Warriors scoreless.
With the score still 8-3 in the home seventh, catcher Bryce Martin led off with a line single between first and second.
With JD Edwards at the plate, Martin stole second. Edwards lined out softly to center, but Mark Mazilli walked to put runners at first and second for Brady. Brady then lined a single to left, scoring Martin, to make it 8-4.
Groves followed with an infield groundout that advance the runners to second and third with two down. Painter bounced out to second to end the game.
On Friday March 14 Polk visited Madison.
The Wolverines host Mountain Heritage on Tuesday, March 18 (JV is set for 4 p.m., with the varsity set for 6:30 p.m.).
On Thursday, March 20, Polk visits Chase.
Polk plays Mitchell at home on Friday, March 21.