Polk County Middle School’s offense is beginning to take shape, and that could spell bad news for the rest of the Blue Ridge Middle School Conference.
The Wolverines rapped out 10 hits Thursday, scoring in every inning but one en route to a 13-3, five-inning win over Bethel Middle at Polk County Recreation Complex.
Polk County (1-2) jumped out to a 7-1 lead after two innings, then wrapped up the game with five runs in the fifth. Eight different Wolverines had hits in the game, including seventh grader Avery Edwards, who not only singled home one run, but pitched a perfect fifth and struck out two in relief of starter Holden Owens.
“One of our seventh graders, Avery Edwards, came on in relief and was unbelievable, getting them one-two-three,” said Polk Middle head coach John Ruth. “If our seventh graders keep coming through like they have been, it’s going to be a great season.
“Our eighth graders got the job done today and did what they’re supposed to do.”
Owens, one of those eighth graders, delivered a solid all-around effort, finishing the game 2-for-2 with four RBI and also earning the win, allowing just two hits in four innings and striking out five. He also had the key blow in the first inning.
Elijah Sutton opened the first with a base hit, with Clark Phipps and Tyler Harris following with walks. Sutton scored on a passed ball before Owens laced a single to drive in Phipps and Harris. Austin Wilson later drive in Owens to give Polk Middle a 4-1 lead.
With the score 7-3 entering the bottom of the fifth, Owens started Polk’s final rally with a walk, then stole second. Kyler Scruggs lined a single to left to score Owens, and Evan Rimer followed with another base hit.
One out later, Brandon Ridings singled in another run, and Austin Wilson then scampered home when Bethel attempted to catch Avery Edwards off first after a passed ball and failed to do so. Sutton then singled home a run to make it 12-3 and load the bases.
Bethel got the second out of the inning, but committed an error on Tyler Harris’ ground ball, allowing the 13th and final run to score.
“Sutton has been struggling a little bit as a leadoff man, but we’ve been telling him that if he gets on base, he’s going to score,” Ruth said. “He got on base three times today with two hits and a walk and scored three runs.
“This was an all-around great game. Any time you 10-run rule a team, you’ve done a pretty good thing.”
In addition to Owens and Sutton with two hits, Scruggs, Wilson, Ridings and Edwards each had a hit and RBI. Phipps singled and scored twice, and Bryson Ridings also drove in a run.
“I’m happy we put it all together today,” Ruth said. “I haven’t lost any confidence in them. I think this game showed that when we put it all together, pitching, catching, fielding and hitting, we’re going to have a pretty good season.”