Mitchell baseball stuns Polk County Wolverines 4-3

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Polk’s Joel Booker tripled and drove in two runs in a losing effort at Mitchell Friday, April 15. (photo by Daniel Hecht)

Just three weeks ago, on a warm spring evening in Columbus, the Wolverines trampled the visiting Mountaineers by a score of 16-0 in a game that was called by mercy rule after five innings.
No one seemed particularly surprised by the outcome that night — after all, Polk County is supposed to beat Mitchell. Indeed, the last time the Mountaineers managed to chalk up a victory against Polk County, most of the current Wolverine players were still wearing diapers.
So, after the dust had settled Friday night in Bakersville, with Mitchell emerging victorious by a score of 4-3, a frustrated Polk head coach Ty Stott was hard pressed to explain how his talented squad could have let this one slip away.
“We don’t take them lightly, because we always come up here and get a little bit of a scare,” said Stott following the upset. “It was just one of those days.”
Stott added, “It’s just baseball. You can’t explain it, and you don’t understand why it happens, but it does.”
Polk led off the scoring in the third inning with starting pitcher Joel Booker helping his own cause, lashing a triple to the gap in left center to drive in two runs and make it 2-0 Polk going into the bottom of the third.
Not to be outdone, the Mountaineers came roaring back in their half of the frame. After a walk and a couple of bloop singles scored a run and put Mitchell runners at the corners, junior Ben Smith stepped to the plate and hammered a Booker offering deep over the center field fence for a three-run homer, capping a four-run fourth inning for the Mountaineers.
While Alec Philpott and Roberto Taft combined in relief to hold the Mountaineers scoreless for the rest of the game, the damage had already been done. Polk managed to score one more run in the fourth, but it was not enough to overcome the Mountaineers’ lead. Mitchell starter Isaac Edwards went the distance, holding the Wolverines to just six hits on the night while striking out five.
“Every year, we go through a little bit of a late-season slump, and it looks like everything is falling apart,” said Stott. “But then come playoff time, we right everything and we’re hard to beat.”
With the loss, the Wolverines fall to 12-3 overall and 7-2 in the Western Highland conference. Polk resumes play Thursday April 21, traveling to Brevard to face the Blue Devils in a non-conference contest.
“It’s nice to have a little break right now,” said Stott. “We’ll get it right, I can guarantee you that.”

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