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Polk softball winning streak ends

Published 10:23am Sunday, April 13, 2014

All winning streaks end some time. The seven-game run by Polk County High School’s softball team ended Wednesday, when Madison tripped the Wolverines, 8-2, at Columbus.Polk is now 10-3 overall, and 4-2 in the Western Highlands Conference, going into today’s game at Mountain Heritage.

Against Madison, the Wolverines’ Ashley Scruggs  (Now 10-3) continued to pitch well, but Madison batters did a better job than some of timing her fastballs and off-speed offerings. A tricky wind and a few mistakes didn’t help Polk either. But, give the Patriots their due.

“They (Madison) just outhit us and outplayed us,” said Polk coach Jeff Wilson.

Madison took a 1-0 lead into the top of the third, and built on it.

A high, possibly wind-blown, fly to left fell between two charging Wolverine fielders for a single. Next, a long fly to left bounced off a glove for two bases and a run. The following batter hit one high and deep, the ball landing over the fence for a two-run homer and a 4-0 Madison lead.

Alexis McCraw hauled down a deep fly to left to retire the side.

Polk was unable to muster a rally in the home third.

Madison added two in the fourth. After a leadoff single to right, the runner stole second and third, and came home on a single up the middle. A pop behind short made it one out, before the runner on first tried to steal second. When the throw went into the outfield, the runner raced home, to make it 6-0.

Scruggs kept her cool, retiring the next batter on a grounder to the mound, before issuing a walk, then fanning the next batter for the third out.

 

In the visitors’ fifth, Madison threatened, but did not score, thanks to good fielding by Polk. A line single and a line double put Patriot runners on second and third, but Scruggs retired the next batter on a soft liner to the mound. Next batter bounced an infield grounder, with the throw home nailing the runner from third. A pop out to short brought Polk to the plate.

The Wolverines got two runners aboard, but were unable to score. Brandi Cordell punched a single to left to put runners on first and second. Kassidy Reynolds tried to bunt them over, but was called out on strikes when she bunted a two-strike pitch foul. However, a successful bunt moved the runners, bringing Hayley Kropp to the plate. Kropp slammed one high and deep, but it was caught just in front of the fence in straightaway center for a long out number three.

Madison opened its sixth with a line double off the left field fence. A low grounder through short scored one run, but in spite of the Patriots putting runners on second and third, they failed to score again.

Down, 7-0, coming into the home sixth, Polk got it going. Brittany Jones led off with a hard single to right; Ashley Kropp lined a single to right center. Maddy Foy tried to bunt them over, but was out on strikes when she bunted a two-strike pitch foul. But, McCraw lined a single to left to fill the bases. Scruggs grounded out, but Jones scored. With Cordell at the plate, Kropp scored on a wild pitch, to make it 7-2.

That was all the scoring for Polk.

In the top of the seventh, Madison’s leadoff batter lined the ball to deep left, but McCraw made a nice catch for out number one. A single, plus a high fly that landed in center, put runners on second and third, before a fly out brought in the lead runner to make it 8-2. Shortstop Jones ended the threat by making a fine running catch of a pop down the left field line.

Reynolds walked to lead off the home seventh, but was out at second on a game-ending fielder’s choice grounder.

“We made some mistakes we don’t normally make,” Wilson noted after the game. “Give Madison credit,” he continued. They played well. I’m really proud of our girls, how they came back.”

Polk praised Scruggs. “She pitched well. It’s tough when balls are dropped. . . . We kept fighting. You give a good team (Madison) a head start and a six-run lead, what do you expect?”

After today, the Wolverines next visit Avery County on April 22. Next Home game is April 24, against North Henderson.

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