Throwing heat

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Close decision goes the other way in home finale

Close games have been a staple of Polk County Middle’s 2021 baseball season.

Which perhaps made it only appropriate Monday that the Wolverines wrapped up the home portion of their schedule with another nailbiter, a tough 3-2 loss to Brevard Middle in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Polk County Recreation Complex.

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The Blue Devils (6-3) took a 7-3 victory in the opener to remain in second place in the Blue Ridge Conference East Division standings. Polk Middle dropped to 3-4-2 ahead of Thursday’s season finale at Rugby.

The second loss was the fourth Wolverine game decided this season by one run or less. Polk Middle is 1-2-1 in those games.

Brevard took that second game with a two-run rally in the bottom of the fourth, which proved to be the final inning due to the 90-minute time limit for each game of the doubleheader. With Polk leading 2-1 entering the inning, two walks and a towering fly-ball single to deep center brought home one Brevard run. Polk Middle got one out on a fielder’s choice, but a solid line drive to left brought home the winning run.

“We’ve had a couple of tough losses,” said Polk Middle head coach Kenny Hall. “We just couldn’t finish the game. You’ve got to be able to finish if you want to contend for championships.”

The Wolverines took a 2-0 lead in the third as Gunnar Alm singled with one out, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored on Avery Hensley’s sacrifice fly. Alex Perry stroked a two-out single, stole second and then scored on Karson Scruggs’ base hit for the two-run lead.

Brevard added a run in the third before the final winning rally.

Alm, Perry, Scruggs, Karlen McEntyre and David Shook each had base hits for Polk.

Alm pitched the first three innings, striking out seven and allowing three hits and a run. Scruggs took the loss, with Piercen Edwards facing three batters in the fourth.

The Wolverines grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the first game as Alm walked, stole second and third and then scored on Sawyer Huff’s two-out single. Brevard responded with three runs in the third and three more in the fourth for a 6-1 lead, but the Wolverines rallied in the fourth.

Hensley doubled to open the inning, with Dayvion Stinson drawing a walk. Both runners advanced a base on a steal before Alm’s infield grounder drove in Hensley. Perry followed with a two-out single to plate Stinson and make it 6-3.

Brevard added a run in the top of the fifth to account for the final margin.

Perry, Huff, Hensley and Stinson each had a hit for the Wolverines.

Scruggs started and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Perry pitched the next two innings and took the loss while Edwards tossed the final inning.

Andy Rhinehart