Wolverines earn split in season-opening tourney at West Wilkes

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Polk County opened its 2018 baseball season on Saturday, splitting a pair of games at the Blackhawk B.E.S.T. tournament at West Wilkes High School.

The Wolverines exploded for eight runs in the sixth inning to defeat North Wilkes 9-2, then saw Wilkes Central rally late for an 8-7 defeat of the Wolverines.

Polk County (1-1) is slated to host Avery on Monday in its home and Western Highlands Conference opener.

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The Wolverines’ huge inning in their opener began with a Holden Owens double. Kaleb Kropp and Tyler Harris followed with singles, with Owens scoring on the Harris hit to even the score at 2-2.

With one out, Nick Capozzi singled to drive hime Kropp, and Kyler Scruggs followed with a two-run double to make it 5-2. Grayson Jones followed with a walk and Elijah Sutton was hit by a pitch to load the bases, still with one out.

Evan Rimer’s sacrifice fly make it 6-2, and an Owens walk reloaded the bases. Jones scored on a wild pitch before Kropp smashed a two-run double to left.

The Wolverines pushed across their first run of the season in the top of the first inning on a Sutton walk, Rimer double and North Wilkes error.

Kropp finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs to lead Polk at the place, with Scruggs also driving in two runs and finished 1-for-4.

Austin Geagley earned the win, pitching 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief, striking out two. Starter Avery Edwards scattered three hits and struck out six in four and 2/3 innings.

In the nightcap, Polk County grabbed a 7-4 lead with four runs in the fifth, only to see Wilkes Central tally three times in the bottom of the sixth to earn the victory.

Down 4-3 entering the fifth, the Wolverines loaded the bases on a Sutton single, Wilkes Central error and a Clark Phipps walk. A Kropp sacrifice fly drove in Sutton before Sedick Pickett hammered a two-out, two-run double. Edwards then singled to drive home Pickett and make it 7-4.

Wilkes Central added an unearned run in the fifth, then loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter in the bottom of the sixth before Hartley crunched a bases-clearing double to center, pushing Wilkes Central into the lead.

Sutton, Rimer and Kropp each had two hits in the game, with Kropp driving in four runs. Kropp finished 4-for-5 with six RBIs in the two games.

Harris pitched four innings, giving up four runs on three hits and striking out seven, and Scruggs followed with two more innings, taking the loss.

– Submitted by PolkSports.com