Polk County Middle put itself in position Monday for another Blue Ridge Conference baseball championship.
The Wolverines upset West Division champion Macon Middle in the opening round of the BRC playoffs, handing the Panthers a 5-4 defeat in Franklin.
Polk County (7-5) will travel Thursday to face East Division champion Brevard Middle (10-1-1) in the BRC title game. It will be a rematch of the 2016 title game, when Polk Middle defeated Brevard Middle to win the only conference championship in school history.
Polk lost both of its meetings this season to Brevard by a combined score of 28-4. But the Wolverines also dropped a 10-0 decision earlier this year at Macon (10-3). None of that mattered Monday.
Polk County grabbed a 3-2 lead after four innings and still led 5-3 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Macon Middle took advantage of Wolverine errors to score one run and have the tying run on third base with two outs and its cleanup hitter at the plate. But reliever Coble Cameron remained calm and got a strikeout to end the game, earn the save and clinch the upset win.
“Today was a gutsy win against a very good Macon team,” said Polk Middle head coach Kenny Hall. “Once again Chan Barber pitched a tremendous game and Coble Cameron came on in relief to shut down Macon’s rally.”
Barber pitched six innings, allowing four hits, one earned run and striking out five in claiming the win.
Macon scored an early run, but Polk tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the third, then tallied twice in the top of the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. Auston Ledford and Angus Weaver reached base on walks, with Ledford scoring on Alex Tipton’s single and Weaver scoring on Cameron’s RBI single.
Polk added a run in the fifth as Barber and Evan Jones singled and Barber scored on a Macon error. The Wolverines then made it 5-2 in the top of the sixth as Tipton reached on an error, Jackson Beiler singled and another error allowed Tipton to score.
Tipton, Beiler and Jones each had two hits for Polk Middle, with Cameron, Barber and Ledford all adding a hit.
“Our guys are playing with a high level of confidence right now and we have one final game left to be champions,” Hall said.