Landrum spoiled Polk County’s home opener on Wednesday, grabbing an early 5-0 lead and keeping the Wolverines in check en route to a 6-1 victory in a non-conference softball matchup between the two border rivals.
Coming off an 18-3 season a year ago, the Cardinals (1-0) looked in good form early, scoring once in the second, then putting together two-run rallies in the third and fourth innings to build their 5-0 lead.
That would be all the cushion that sophomore pitcher Caitlyn Cox would need. Cox held Polk County to five hits and avoided disaster in the fifth inning when the Wolverines (1-1) loaded the bases with no outs, but managed just one run.
“We didn’t hit the ball like we should have,” said Polk County head coach Jamie Thompson. “We got bats on it, but we didn’t hit it hard.
“They small-balled us and got some runs. But they hit the ball well, too.”
After managing just three baserunners in the first four innings, Polk County looked poised for a comeback in the fifth. Morgan Stott’s double down the left-field line, Hannah Emory’s walk and Allie Thompson’s shallow single to right loaded the bases with Wolverines with no outs.
But Cox induced an infield line drive and a ground ball for two outs, walked Autumn Owen to give Polk its only run, then ended the inning with one of her six strikeouts to squelch the Wolverine rally.
Stott, Thompson, Maranda Gosnell, Ashley Scruggs and Karli Wood accounted for the Wolverines’ five hits.
Polk County now turns its attention to its Western Highlands Conference opener on Friday as preseason favorite Madison rolls into Columbus.
“We’ll recover from this,” Thompson said. “We’ve got a big game on Friday, so we’ll move on and get ready for that. We’ll see Landrum one more time, so we’ll get another shot at them.”