Grayson Jones’ sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning lifted Polk County to a 6-5 win over Mitchell on Thursday in a key Western Highlands Conference clash in Ledger.
The Wolverines remained tied with Madison atop the WHC standings with the win and moved a step closer to clinching the conference’s 1A playoff automatic berth.
Polk County (11-4, 9-1) hosts Mitchell (8-5, 6-4) on Friday at The Bottoms in the finale of the teams’ three-game series. A Wolverine win would wrap up the top 1A seed in the 2A/1A conference.
Clark Phipps opened the nine with a single, then moved to third on Sedrick Pickett’s one-out double. A walk to Elijah Sutton loaded the bases before Jones lifted a fly ball to center that allowed Phipps to score.
Mitchell got two runners on in the bottom of the inning and those runners on second and third with two outs. But Jeremy Sparks was caught trying to steal home with two strikes to end the game.
The Wolverines took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as a Mitchell error allowed Evan Rimer to score. The Mountaineers, though, tied the game in the first and then scored three runs in the second to grab a 4-1 lead.
Rimer opened the third inning with one of his four hits in the game, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Nick Capozzi’s grounder to make it 4-2.
The score stayed that way until the fifth, when Polk pushed across two runs to tie the game. Rimer opened the inning with a single, again stole second and moved to third on Capozzi’s bunt single. An error allowed Rimer to score, and Capozzi moved to third on a Pickett groundout before Sutton’s single drove him home with the tying run.
Mitchell made it 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Wolverines again answered in the sixth as Jordan Bishop tripled to open the inning and scored on Zeke Herrmann’s one-out grounder.
Avery Edwards earned the win, pitching four and two-thirds innings of relief, allowing three hits and striking out three.
Rimer finished 4-for-5, scored three runs and had four stolen bases, one short of the school record. Pickett was 2-for-4 with two doubles, with Sutton 2-for-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases and Bishop going 2-for-5. Phipps, Capozzi and Kaleb Kropp had hits for Polk.
The Wolverines had nine stolen bases in the game.