Polk County's baseball team celebrated its first playoff win since 2019 with Tuesday's triumph at South Stanly (photo courtesy Margot Carter)

Polk County grabbed a quick lead Tuesday and never let it go.

Lawson Carter belted a two-run homer in the first inning and the Wolverines never lost that advantage, defeating South Stanly 7-4 in the opening round of the state 1A playoffs in Norwood.

Polk County (11-13), earning its first postseason win since 2019, will travel Frida to Uwharrie Charter to face the 21-5 Eagles, seeded second in the 1A West bracket. Uwharrie thumped Bradford Prep 15-0 in its first-round game.

Carter’s one-out blast gave Polk a quick 2-0 lead, and the Wolverines pushed that to 4-0 in the second inning. Cohen Edwards and Mark Jarrett singled to open the second, with Gunnar Alm drawing a walk to load the bases. Alex Perry’s sacrifice fly scored one run, and an error on the play allowed another to score to give the Wolverines their four-run cushion.

South Stanly (12-10) took advantage of two Polk errors in the third inning to trim the lead to 4-2. The Wolverines answered with two runs in the top of the fourth as Mason Beiler singled and then scored on Alm’s two-out double, with Carter then ripping a double to plate Alm.

The Rebel Bulls responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 6-4, but that would be it for their offense. Polk added a final run in the fifth as Alm walked, moved to third on Perry’s single and scored on Carter’s sacrifice fly.

Noah Harden returned from an injury and earned the win, pitching three and a third innings, giving up three hits and striking out two. Karson Scruggs tossed the final three and two-thirds, allowing five hits and no runs.

Carter finished 2-for-3 with four RBI, with Beiler 3-for-4, Alm 2-for-3 with two runs and Jarrett 2-for-4. Perry, Scruggs and Edwards each added base hits as Polk totalled 12 hits in the game.