Polk shuts out Asheville Christian

Published 3:45 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Polk’s TJ Fincher tags out Lions baserunner during 5-0 victory Monday over ACA. (photo by Dan Hecht)

With the memory of last week’s loss to East Rutherford still fresh and just one game remaining before their conference opener, a convincing win was the medicine Polk County needed. Monday afternoon at home, Coach Ty Stott’s team got just what the doctor ordered, blanking the visiting Lions of Asheville Christian Academy 5-0.
The Wolverines broke the scoreless game open in the bottom of the second, exploding for four runs on four hits. Tyler Philpott led off the inning, crushing a fastball to deep left field for a two base hit.  Shortstop Roberto Taft followed with a sharp line drive to right center, scoring Philpott and taking third on slipshod ACA defensive play.
After Lucas Cash worked a 3-2 count into a walk, putting runners at the corners with no outs, Dakota Turner lashed a double to the center field fence, scoring Taft. Andre Overholt capped the inning, ripping a two RBI single to center, scoring both Cash and Turner. Overholt also singled in the fourth, scoring Polk’s fifth run on a TJ Fincher base hit to left.
Turner pitched a gem in his third start this season for the Wolverines, allowing no hits and walking just two in five innings of work. Jacob Painter pitched a strong sixth inning in relief, retiring the top of the Lions’ batting order 1-2-3.
Painter got off to a rocky start in the seventh, walking two and giving up a bloop single, and suddenly the Lions were back in the hunt. With bases loaded and just one out, and the tying run in the on-deck circle, Coach Stott called on his standout sophomore pitcher Alec Philpott, who quickly retired the final two ACA batters to preserve the shutout.
While Coach Stott said that he would still like to see more intensity on offense, he praised the performance of his pitching and defense, particularly the stellar play of shortstop Taft.
“Roberto played one of the best games at defensive shortstop I’ve ever seen,” said Stott, noting in particular a play in the sixth when Taft ranged well to the right of second base to snare a sharply hit ground ball and fired to first for the out. High praise indeed coming from the coach of last year’s standout shortstop Danny Fraga, a ballplayer Stott said was the best he’d ever seen in person.

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