Polk County drops first two games in 2014 baseball season

Published 11:39 pm Monday, March 3, 2014

Early-season and cold-weather baseball generally favors pitchers, and without its full complement of starters early on, Polk County High School’s team, while improv-ing notably in its second game, is still looking for its first win of the young season.
On Friday, Feb. 28 the Wolver-
ines scored three run-in the home sixth, and got effective relief pitch-ing from Daniel Painter and J.D. Edwards, but Brevard hit the ball a little harder, executed two double plays and won 8-4.
After two and one-half innings, Brevard led, 6-1. The Blue Devils made it 7-1, in the fourth, when a runner stole second, went to third on the errant throw, and scored on an infield out. Painter got the third out, when right fielder Damien Cantrell ran back and hauled in a long fly.
The Blue Devils got one more in the top of the fifth. With Brevard runners on first and second, new pitcher Edwards induced a ground-er to short, with Polk executing a force at third. However, Edwards inadvertently hit the next batter loading the bases, and walked the next, forcing in a run. With the sacks full, Dequan Gary caught a fly to left, to retire the side.
Edwards, mostly fooling the
Blue Devils with a mix of off-speed pitches, held the visitors scoreless in the sixth. The three outs came on a liner caught on a fine play by Mark Mazilli in center, and two pop ups.
In the home sixth, Polk was finally able to cut away Brevard’s lead.
Morgan Groves led off with a walk. Gary fanned for the first out, but shortly afterward, Groves raced to second on a wild pitch. Moments later Groves, already heading to third on an infield grounder, scored on a bad throw to first. That cut Brevard’s lead to 8-2, with just one out.
With Tyler Tomberlin at the
plate and runners on first and sec-ond, the Wolverines essentially got a double steal when, with runners moving, a bad throw to second put them on second and third. Tomber-lin fanned, but a balk scored one runner and sent Konner Scruggs o third. Scruggs scored on a hard grounder, which the Brevard second baseman stopped, but no more. The fielder slumped to the ground, and did not make a throw. He seemed to recover moments later. Polk had cut the lead to 8-4, but could get no closer.
With the temperature dropping to about 40 by game’s end, the cold, heavy air seemed to keep at least two long drives in the park. Dequan Gary raced back to snag one of those near the left field fence in the visitors’ seventh, to help avert further Brevard scoring.
With just three outs to score at least four runs, Polk managed one runner in the home seventh. With one down, Wes Brady struck out swinging, but beat the throw to first on a passed ball. Groves then smacked a hard grounder to short, but quick throws to second and first ended the game.
Scruggs, a second baseman, got the start on Friday.
“We’re having to throw people into the pitching mix,” said head coach Ty Stott, noting that some are not primarily pitchers. “I thought we played a clean game.”
He said that if the Wolverines continue to play as such, wins would come their way. He also ex-pects his starters to be ready soon. “We’re trying to get through the week without anybody getting hurt,” Stott said.
Cold weather and the transi-
tion from winter to spring sports have also cost Polk some needed practice time.
Regarding Edwards being able to largely keep Brevard batters off balance, Stott said, “He looked good tonight. He’s going to be good against a good fastball hit-ting team.”
Today (Tuesday) Polk visits Asheville Christian Academy (varsity begins at 4 p.m., with no JV game), and visits West Hen-derson on Friday, with a 4 p.m. JV start. The varsity contest is set for 6:30 p.m.
Last Thursday, the Wolverines dropped their 2014 opener against East Rutherford, 16-2

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