LANDRUM – Midway through a stretch of five games in seven days, Polk County needed a quality, innings-eating pitching effort in Tuesday’s trip to Landrum.
Cohen Edwards provided exactly that.
The junior right-hander kept the Cardinals in check for five innings and Angus Weaver’s grand slam provided the offensive muscle to power the Wolverines to an 8-5 win in Landrum.
An unearned run gave Landrum (3-2) a 1-0 lead in the second, but Edwards kept the Cardinals quiet from there until the fifth, when Swayer Smith’s base hit line drive to left-center scored Reese Dunaway. Edwards escaped the inning without additional damage and left with a 5-2 lead.
Edwards allowed five hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in his 76 pitches over those five innings.
“Cohen went out and did what we expect of him, throw strikes, change speeds, keep them off-balance. He gave us five strong innings and kept his pitch count down,” said Polk County head coach Billy Alm.
“That was big time for a junior who really didn’t log any innings on varsity last year.”
A two-out rally in the third inning turned the game in Polk’s favor.
Gunnar Alm drew a walk to start that surge, with Alex Tipton’s single and Lawson Carter’s walk loading the bases. That brought Weaver to the plate, and the senior hammered a fly ball that cleared the fence in left-center and cleared the bases for a 4-1 Polk County advantage.
“We’re struggling to start out. Everybody was amped up,” Billy Alm said. “Angus relaxed everybody with a four-run swing. That’s what we expect out of him. He’s our leader, and it definitely took the pressure off some of the younger guys and we were able to play some ball.”
Polk added a run in the fourth on a Tipton RBI double, then scored two more runs in the sixth. Avery Hensley singled with one out and stole second, then scored on Gunnar Alm’s base hit to right. Alm then stole second and third and scored on Tipton’s grounder to second to up the Polk lead to 7-2.
Carter took the mound in the sixth for Polk and gave up a run, but the Wolverines answered with another run in the seventh as Weaver was hit by a pitch to open the inning, then scored with two outs on Noah Harden’s base hit.
Landrum scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to account for the final margin.
Tipton finished 2-for-4 with two RBI, with Alm, Weaver, Alex Perry, Harden and Hensley each recording hits.
Carter allowed one hit and walked two in two innings and didn’t allow an earned run.
The Wolverines, who travel Wednesday to North Henderson, improved to 3-1 with the victory.
“We’re super young, obviously. We had four freshmen on the field at one time tonight,” Billy Alm said. “Lot of freshmen, lot of sophomores, and there are going to be some growing pains. But 3-1, we’ll take it.”