Polk drops WHC baseball game to Madison

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

One offensive highlight in Polk's 11-1 loss was Holden Edwards, who singled, doubled and scored the Wolverines' lone run. (Photo by Mark Schmerling)

One offensive highlight in Polk’s 11-1 loss was Holden Edwards, who singled, doubled and scored the Wolverines’ lone run. (Photo by Mark Schmerling)

The official score after one inning of Polk County/Madison baseball on Tuesday, April 5 was 4-0, in favor of Madison, but to veteran Polk coach Ty Stott, “It felt like 40-0.”

The final score of 11-1 (scoring rule after five full innings) at Columbus, lent credence to Stott’s assertion that he felt the team has played all year below their talent level.

The loss dropped the Wolverines to 4-10 overall, and 1-5 in Western Highlands Conference competition, while Madison upped its marks to 9-3 and 6-1, respectively.

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Madison won with the kind of pitching that Stott has tried to find consistently, and with a run-producing offense based mostly on hard contact, something Stott would like to see more consistently from his players. Madison also took advantage of opportunities.

The Wolverines’ fielding, while not perfect, has generally been more than adequate, and is not the source of Stott’s frustration. He’d like to see his pitchers gain more command of their offerings, and not simply put them across the plate.

“We don’t have that bulldog mentality,” he lamented. “We need to pick it up and play better.”

Madison used one pitcher, while Stott put a succession of four on the mound.

Tyler Harris got the start of Polk, and lasted into the third inning. Madison’s four runs in the first came on a combination of hits, walks and hit batters, with a stolen base. However, Harris ended the frame with a strikeout. He settled down in the second inning, retiring all three batters he faced.

If Madison’s first inning put Polk in a hole, the Patriots’ third inning sealed the results, as Madison scored seven runs, the big hits being a line double and a line triple. The inning also featured a Patriot runner being caught between first and second, without being tagged out. As he made it safely to second on a close play, the runner from third scored.

Part of Harris’s undoing was a number of his pitches hitting the dirt, keeping catcher Sedrick Pickett busy blocking many of those.

Stott also sent J. D. Edwards, Holden Owens and Brett Phipps to the mound in relief.

Down, 11-0 in the home fifth, Polk needed to score a bare minimum two runs to keep the game going.

Owens led off with his second hit of the evening, a long double to the gap in left center. He then advanced to third on a wild pitch, scoring ahead of Pickett’s long sacrifice fly to left. Polk had made only one out, but a groundout and strikeout ended the inning and the game.

In his search for answers, Stott admits, “I’ve never felt as baffled as I have this year.”

This busy week for Polk includes games Wednesday at Christ School, Thursday against West Henderson at Polk, and Friday, April 8 at Mountain Heritage, if it doesn’t snow.