Polk loaded with talent again

Published 6:09 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

Polk County baseball coach Ty Stott remembers vividly a game four years ago. It’s the game he feels turned Polk County’s fortune around in baseball leading to the most dominant streak in the history of Wolverine baseball.
The Wolverines were down at home against Hendersonville when Brandon Jolley drove in the tying run. Polk County wrapped up the game in extra innings en route to the first of three conference championships in the last four years.

Polk County pitcher Lucas Cash swings at a pitch at practice on Monday. Cash will anchor the pitching staff this season as the Wolverines look for their third straight conference championship. (photo by Joey Millwood)

The Wolverines spent the next three years rich in talent and rich in victories. Last year’s seniors graduated with a record 59 wins, and this year’s seniors, including Lucas Cash, who was Player of the Year last season as a junior, only need 14 wins to top that record. During that stretch, the Wolverines have broken the single-season wins total twice. They broke it with 17 wins originally before winning 19 games the last two seasons.
“We’ve just had some special talent coming through,” Stott said.
Polk is loaded with talent again. Cash returns to anchor the pitching staff.
“I think Lucas can dominate any team in the conference,” Stott said. “They can’t touch his fastball.”
He’ll be joined by Dakota Turner, who was injured all last season, and Roberto Taft on the mound. Taft will be pulling double-duty in a big way this season. He’ll log some important innings on the mound, Stott said, but he’ll also have the job of replacing Danny Fraga, who Stott says is the best ball player he’s ever seen in person. Taft will move from third base to short stop this season and Stott isn’t worried because if Fraga was the best ballplayer he’s seen in person, Taft is right behind him, he said.
A key piece to the team will be returning catcher Rooster Ross. Ross has been holding down the plate for the last three years and is tough out in the lineup. The southpaw bats second in a loaded Wolverine lineup that had five hitters hitting .400 or better last season. Three of those hitters return.
At first base, a lean Tyler Philpott who packs plenty of power returns. Joel Booker returns at centerfield and Andre Overholt will return at right field and will also have leadoff duties. T.J. Fincher will have a crack at being the every day second baseman, Stott said, and Alec Philpott will have a shot at being the every day third baseman. Ryan Thomas and Tyler Ridings will also log innings as well.
As for conference play, Hendersonville and Owen will be the primary roadblocks in the way of a three-peat as Western Highlands Conference champions, but Stott likes his team’s odds.
“I think we could be just as good as last year,” he said.