Wolverine baseball deals 5-2 loss to Mountain Heritage

Published 8:44 am Friday, April 15, 2011

Polk shortstop Roberto Taft holds Cougar runner on second during Tuesday’s 5-2 conference win. (photo by Dan Hecht)

The last time the Wolverines and Cougars mixed it up, just a few weeks ago in Burnsville, the outcome of the contest was never in question. Polk treated its conference foe to a world-class thrashing, shutting out Mountain Heritage 12-0.
Tuesday, April 12 in Columbus, the boys from Yancey County arrived with payback in mind, determined to mete out some punishment, mountain style.
Dakota Turner, boasting a 3-1 record, got the start for the Wolverines. After giving up a single to the leadoff hitter, Turner settled into his rhythm, retiring the heart of the Heritage lineup. Turner wound up tossing six innings of shutout ball, giving up just two more hits while walking two.
Cougar ace Zack Wiseman took the hill in the bottom of the first. After walking two of the first four batters to give Polk the early advantage, he settled into his groove as well, retiring the next 12 batters in a row to hold Polk to a slim 1-0 lead after four innings.
Wiseman’s string ran out in the fifth as the Wolverine bats caught fire. Alec Philpott walked and scored on a blistering double to right-center by Andre Overholt, and Rooster Ross followed suit with a line single up the middle, scoring the speedy Overholt from first. Ross scored next, as a Joel Booker single to left was misplayed. After cleanup hitter Tyler Philpott drove home Booker with a single to right, the Wolverines had jumped in front by five.
Following a scoreless sixth, Turner took the mound in the final frame and quickly gave up a leadoff single. Polk coach Ty Stott, taking no chances, lifted his tiring starter, bringing in Roberto Taft to preserve the win. But after a sac fly to center brought a run across for the Cougars, and an error and a walk loaded the bases, Heritage had the momentum. With two outs, Heritage catcher David Johnston lashed a RBI single to center, scoring the runner from third and putting the go-ahead run at the plate.
Heritage’s chances quickly vaporized as the Cougars made an illegal substitution for Johnston, lifting the catcher in favor of a courtesy runner who had previously run for the pitcher, a violation of NFHS rule 8-4(k). After Stott brought the infraction to the attention of the umpires, the courtesy runner was called out at first, ending the game and dashing Heritage’s hopes for a storybook comeback win.
“The courtesy runner is a very tricky rule,” said Stott, adding, “it’s got a lot of details to it, and a lot of people don’t know it.”
Stott was unapologetic about the unusual game ending play.
“The rules are the rules, and with bases loaded against us, we’ll take whatever we can get,” he said.
With the victory, Polk improves to 12-2 on the season, and 7-1 in conference competition.

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