BASEBALL: Bearcats climb out of early hole to upend Wolverines
Published 10:06 am Monday, March 27, 2023
Once again, a Hendersonville rally took away a potential Polk County victory.
The Bearcats fought back Friday from an early 5-1 deficit, pushing across a run in the top of the seventh to secure a 7-6 victory over the Wolverines in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference meeting at The Bottoms.
Hendersonville (6-2, 2-0) rallied Tuesday from a 7-0 hole to top Polk (4-7, 0-4). Friday’s comeback wasn’t quite as large, though the outcome proved the same.
Deadlocked at 6-6 entering the seventh, the Bearcats got the break they needed as Logan Spachman reached on an error. Two infield grounders moved Spachman to third with two outs.
J.T. Smith then lashed a screaming ground ball that Polk County third baseman Karson Scruggs managed to spear with a diving stop. Scruggs tried to throw out Smith at first from his knees, but Smith reached safely, allowing Spachman to score.
The Wolverines got runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Bearcat reliever Skylar Albright escaped the jam to secure the win.
Polk County honored Hendersonville head coach Mark Cook, who is retiring at season’s end, before the game, then made Cook feel most unwelcome by racing to a 5-1 lead after two innings.
Lawson Carter’s RBI double in the first evened the game at 1-1, and the Wolverines then fashioned a four-run rally in the second. Walks to Noah Harden and Scruggs and a Cohen Edwards infield single loaded the bases with no outs. With one out, Gunnar Alm drew a walk to score Harden, and Carter delivered a two-out single to bring home two more runs.
Angus Weaver walked to re-load the bases for Avery Hensley, who singled to drive in Alm and give Polk a 5-1 lead.
Hendersonville responded with three runs in the third, but Alm hammered a run-scoring double off the right-center field fence in the bottom of the third to give Polk a 6-4 advantage.
That lead held until the fifth, when two errors, a walk, a hit batsman and a base hit allowed the Bearcats to score twice and tie the game.
Carter finished 3-for-4 with three RBI to lead Polk, which also got hits from Alm, Hensley and Edwards.
Harden started and lasted four innings, allowing five hits, striking out three and giving up four runs, three earned. Hensley pitched the final three innings, giving up two hits and three runs, all unearned.
Albright earned the win with five innings of relief work, giving up just two hits and striking out six with five walks.
Polk County is back in action on Tuesday, hosting Patton at The Bottoms for another conference matchup.