SOFTBALL: Wolverines deliver road upset to open 1A state playoffs

Published 1:23 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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Phillip Miller had a feeling. A good feeling.

The Wolverine head coach felt Polk County had a chance Tuesday to engineer a first-round playoff upset, which is exactly what the Wolverines did, upsetting Queen’s Grant 6-3 in the opening round of the 1A postseason in Matthews.

Polk County (9-11), the 24th seed in the 1A West bracket, will travel Friday to face No. 8 Mountain Island Charter in the second round. MIC (8-5) defeated Rosman 8-5 in its playoff opener.

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The playoff win is the first for Polk County since 2018.

Queen’s Grant (17-4) entered as the No. 9 seed in the West field, averaging more than 14 runs per game and batting almost .500 as a team. Led by pitcher Sarah Vitale, the Wolverines held the Stallions to just four hits, with Vitale striking out eight.

Polk County snared a 1-0 lead in the first inning on back-to-back doubles by Chloe Young and Sarah Vitale before Queen’s Grant rallied with two runs in the third to take its lone lead of the day.

That changed in the top of the fourth as the Wolverines scored five times to seize control of the game. Junie Mitchell and Aslyn Scruggs reached base before Mia Bradley drove in both with two outs to give the Wolverines a 3-2 edge.

Young followed with a base hit before Sarah Vitale smashed another to plate Bradley and Young and make it 5-2. Elizabeth Vitale added an RBI double to give the Wolverines a 6-2 advantage.

Polk made the lead stand, though Queen’s Grant had two runners on in both the fifth and sixth innings and pushed across a run in the seventh.

Young finished 2-for-4, as did Miya Jackson and Elizabeth Vitale. Bradley, Sarah Vitale, Junie Mitchell and Scruggs each added a base hit.