A break here or there Thursday, and Polk County Middle might well have left Polk County Recreation Complex with a win over league-leading Canton Middle School.
But the Bears did just enough to keep the Wolverines at bay, taking a 3-1 win in a Blue Ridge Middle School Conference matchup.
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The Wolverines (5-6) saw their three-game winning streak snapped as Canton improved to 9-1. The Bears built a 3-0 lead in the game in part by holding Polk Middle without a hit through the first four innings.
Then, things got interesting.
The Wolverines got their first hit of the game in the bottom of the fifth on Evan Dadson’s single, and loaded the bases with two outs before Canton escaped without allowing a run.
Shane Parris then opened the bottom of the sixth with a sharp single to left and moved to second on a passed ball. Nick Capozzi followed with a base hit to right-center. Parris raced around third and slid into home, only to first be called out, then be called safe. In the chaos following that call, Capozzi tried to sneak around second and reach third, but Canton was able to catch Capozzi in a rundown and tag him out.
The Bears then got the final five outs of the game to ensure the win.
Despite notching three hits in the game – those by Dadson, Parris and Capozzi – Polk Middle hung tough with the league leaders thanks to solid pitching and defense. The Wolverines didn’t make an error in the game and turned a key double play in the fourth.
Trailing 1-0 and Canton having loaded the bases with no outs, Polk shortstop Grayson Jones dove to his left to stop a ground ball and started a 6-4-3 double play, helping hold Canton to one run in the inning.
Jonathan Edwards started the game for the Wolverines and pitched four innings, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out two. Jones relieved and pitched the final three innings, giving up five hits and one run.
Polk Middle travels to Smoky Mountain Middle on Monday for the start of a three-game road trip to conclude its regular season.