Ideal weather for baseball, supportive crowd, seventh-inning rally to force extra innings.
The only thing keeping Monday from being a perfect afternoon for Polk County Middle baseball was the final score.
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Madison Middle scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning to hand the Wolverines a 5-3 loss in a Blue Ridge Middle School Conference game at Polk County Recreation Complex.
The Wolverines (1-6) pushed across a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. The eighth was played under international rules, with each team beginning its at-bat with one out and a runner on second.
Madison managed to score twice in the top of the eighth without a hit, taking advantage of three walks and an error. The Patriots then kept Polk Middle scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to seal the win.
“We played good enough baseball to keep us in the game and give us a shot,” said Polk Middle head coach Jason Flynn. “As a coach you can’t ask for more than that.”
Trailing 3-1 after three innings, Polk Middle began to rally in the sixth. Shane Parris opened the inning with a deep drive to right field, good for a double, and Chan Barber followed with a sharp single to right to make it 3-2.
The Wolverines then rallied in the seventh with one out. Evan Jones drew a walk, as did Coble Cameron, with both advancing a base on a passed ball. Jones then scored on Bryson Edwards’ single to left-center to tie the game.
Cameron eventually reached third, but was left stranded there as Madison reliever Gannon Kooles, who entered in the sixth after Barber’s single, got two ground balls to end the inning.
Polk County scored its first run in the bottom of the first as Cameron walked with one out, stole second and eventually scored on a Madison error.
Barber finished 2-for-4 to lead Polk, with Edwards, Parris and Hadden Whitson adding hits.
“Things are starting to fall into place,” Flynn said. “We had a little bad stretch today, but that’s just experience and being the beginning of the season.
“We’ll move on. These guys love to play.”
The Wolverines have the rest of the week off before traveling Monday to face Brevard Middle.