Polk County players race to surround senior Bryson Edwards as he leaps in celebration of his game-winning hit

Edwards’ walk-off double gives Polk a Senior Night to celebrate

Micah Hill sprinted across home plate, took a U-turn and made a beeline for the shortstop area of the infield at The Bottoms.

Polk County’s bench emptied and did the same.

All had Bryson Edwards in their sights and one more Senior Night celebration on their minds.

Edwards’ double in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday drove home Hill with the winning run as Polk County topped Owen 3-2 in a thrilling Western Highlands Conference clash.

Head coach Billy Alm opted to slide Hill and Edwards down the batting order to hopefully boost both out of recent struggles at the plate. The two combined for four of the Wolverines’ five hits for the night, none bigger than the two they had in the final inning.

With one out, Hill hammered a Cayden Cook pitch to deep center field, allowing him to reach second with a standup double. The left-handed Edwards, one of six seniors recognized before the game, followed with a drive drilled down the right-field line that allowed Hill to easily race home.

Cue the infield celebration.

“We moved some people around, moved Micah down, moved Bryson Edwards down, because they weren’t hitting, kind of like a slump buster,” Alm said. “Those two came up big in the bottom of the lineup tonight.”

Coble Cameron effort on the mound Friday earned plenty of fist bumps from head coach Billy Alm

Edwards also picked up the win, pitching a scoreless top of the eighth in relief following a quality start from Coble Cameron. Relying on an effective breaking ball to keep Owen’s hitters off balance, Cameron allowed just two hits in seven innings, striking out seven. Neither of the runs he allowed were earned as Polk committed six errors, yet Cameron seemed unfazed, and his final inning was one of his best as he got an easy groundout and back-to-back strikeouts to close his effort.

Pitch count rules dictated Cameron come off the mound before the eighth, but that didn’t stop him from asking coaches in the dugout, “Do you mean I can’t pitch any more?”

“Coble Cameron on the bump, he absolutely showed tonight,” Alm said. “He was excellent.”

Polk (3-5, 2-2) took a 1-0 lead in the second as Edwards reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on an outfield error on Lawson Carter’s shallow fly ball.

That lead held until the fourth, when a Polk error and Landin Favrot double into the left-field corner allowed Owen (3-5, 2-2) to even the score. The Warhorses then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth thanks to three Wolverine infield errors.

Needing a run to even the score, Polk manufactured one in the bottom of the sixth. Hill reached on an Owen error, then moved to second a passed ball before advancing to third on an Edwards groundout. Pinch hitter Cnan Barber then was hit by a pitch, putting runners on the corners with two outs.

Alm then called for Barber to break for second, hoping to induce a rundown that would give Hill time to head home. Barber got such a good jump, though, that Cook’s only option was to throw to second. That throw skipped into the outfield, and Hill easily scored the tying run.

“Chan had a great first-and-third play with the early lead so that we could steal a run right there,” Alm said. “Now we hopefully just keep the train rolling and start swinging the bats.”

Cameron finished 1-for-3 for Polk’s other hit as the Wolverines struggled early to solve Owen starter Caleb Scott, who struck out eight and allowed three hits in five innings.

Still very much alive in the race for another WHC title, Polk County travels Tuesday to Avery for the first of two games next week with the Vikings.