SOFTBALL: Polk offense shines in home-opening win over Asheville

Published 10:57 am Friday, March 8, 2024

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A six-run lead in hand, Polk County softball coach Phillip Miller decided Thursday to send a string of pinch hitters to the plate in the fifth inning.

One by one, each delivered a base hit – or got hit by a pitch, in the case of Bailey Staton – to fuel a three-run at-bat for the Wolverines.

It’s been that kind of start to the season for Polk County, which upped its record to 3-0 with an 11-1 victory over Asheville in the Wolverines’ home opener, held at Polk County Recreation Complex.

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The Wolverines have scored at least 11 runs in all three of their games to date. Granted, two of those have come against the 1-3 Cougars, but Miller is still pleased with the early-season progress of the Polk offense.

“I think we’re going to do pretty well this year because we’ve hit the ball,” Miller said. “We really hit the ball well at Erwin the other night.

“Tonight wasn’t as great. But I’m super proud of this team. Even the girls we put in got hits, everybody but Bailey, and she got hit. Just super proud of them tonight.”

Asheville held a 1-0 lead through two and a half innings, but Polk took charge of proceedings with a seven-run rally in the bottom of the third, stringing together a handful of walks, singles and a Chloe Young double.

Rosie LaFauci opened the fifth with a solid base hit to center before being forced out on Miya Jackson’s infield popup. Taylor Lancaster and Nina Privitera followed with singles, Privitera’s driving in two runs, before Staton was hit on a 3-0 pitch. Kinley Waters added an RBI single to give the Wolverines a 10-1 lead.

Polk closed the game in the bottom of the sixth as Laney Littlefield walked and scored on a Mia Bradley base hit.

Bradley finished 3-for-4, as did Waters, with Young and Littlefield each going 2-for-3.

Sarah Vitale struck out 10 in earning the win for Polk County, which will open Mountain Foothills 7 Conference play on Tuesday, hosting Hendersonville.