Wolverines score early, often in doubleheader sweep

Maranda Gosnell drives a Hendersonville pitch during the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader.

Late in the second game of Tuesday’s softball doubleheader with Hendersonville, a Polk County player remarked just how wonderful the air smelled at the Wolverines’ home field.

It may well have been the aroma wafting over from the hamburgers and hot dogs on a nearby grill that awaited the Wolverines after the game. Or it could have been the sweet smell of success on a near-perfect Senior Day for Polk.

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The Wolverines saluted their three seniors and then sent them out in style, routing Hendersonville 17-1 and 12-0 in the final Western Highlands Conference matchup between the two rivals for at least the next four years.

Hendersonville (1-18, 0-12) moves to the Mountain Six Conference next season and will undoubtedly not miss days like Tuesday. Errors plagued the Bearcats throughout both ends of the doubleheader, and Polk County (11-5, 8-3) took advantage of nearly all of them.

“It was a good day,” said Polk County head coach Jamie Thompson. “We didn’t hit the ball as well as we’ve been hitting it, but we did enough.

“I’m proud of the girls and proud of their effort.”

The day’s only bit of drama came in the second game, as senior Ashley Scruggs retired the first seven batters she faced and carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning.

Tyonna Wilkes ended Scruggs’ bid for her second no-hitter of the season with one out in the fourth, singling to center. Thompson brought in freshman Anna McFadden at that point, and McFadden struck out all four batters she faced, with Wilkes caught stealing.

“Ashley Scruggs did well,” Thompson said. “Anna McFadden did a good job in relief, coming in and not giving up a hit.”

Scruggs and McFadden struck out a combined 10 batters.

Polk got all the runs it would need in the second game on Autumn Owen’s two-run double off the left-field fence in the first inning. The Wolverines scored five runs in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth in the five-inning win.

Owen finished 2-for-4 and senior Ashley Ponder finished 2-for-3 to lead Polk County in the second game. Amber Miller was the other Polk senior recognized on Tuesday.

The Wolverines scored often and early in the first game, building a 9-0 lead after two innings and cruising to the five-inning win.

Polk County led 15-0 before Tamara Sheley homered in the top of the fourth for the Bearcats’ lone run.

Scruggs was 2-for-2 with three RBI and Maranda Gosnell finished 2-for-3 with four RBI to lead the Wolverines. Hannah Emory added a 2-for-3 effort with three RBI and Owen homered for Polk County.

The Wolverines wrap up their regular-season schedule on Thursday, hosting Owen in a game that could decide second place in the WHC.