Polk Middle gets offense going, but falls to Rugby

Polk County Middle's Anna McFadden readies to swing at a pitch during Thursday's action.

First-year Polk County Middle School softball coach Shannon Harris is beginning to see improvement from her Wolverines – and thinks an upcoming break in the schedule is going to do nothing but accelerate that.

Polk Middle dropped a 13-8 decision to Rugby Middle on Thursday in a Blue Ridge Middle School Conference game at Polk County Recreation Complex. The Wolverines held a 3-2 lead after three innings, but Rugby retook the lead in the fourth inning and pulled away to take the victory.

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But the run total represented Polk Middle’s second-highest output of the season, and coming on the heels of a 14-7 win at Hendersonville Middle, helped stoke Harris’ optimism.

“We’re definitely beginning to shape up,” Harris said. “We’re starting to play together as a team.”

Thursday’s game capped a week in which Polk Middle (1-4) played three times, and the Wolverines have opened the season with five games in a 10-day span. Following Monday’s home game with Apple Valley, the Wolverines have a week before their next game, and Harris said that break would be important for her team’s development.

“We’re going to have four days here to work on things,” Harris said. “That’s really going to help.”

After serving two seasons as an assistant coach at North Henderson and one season as an assistant at Apple Valley, Harris is enjoying her first stint as a head coach as well as her new school.

“It’s a little more responsibility, but it’s been fun. I’m really enjoying it,” she said.

“This is a great group of girls. They’re willing to do anything I ask. I put a child at third base today for the first time, and when I said take three steps closer to the batter, she did.”