Polk County scored a bit of damage early Tuesday to R-S Central ace Tripp Triplett.
The Limestone-bound left-hander, though, ultimately won the day.
Triplett’s 12 strikeouts helped power the Hilltoppers to an 8-2 victory over the Wolverines in Mountain Foothills 7 Conference action at The Bottoms.
R-S Central (12-3, 7-2) remained tied with East Rutherford atop the MF7 standings with the win – Chase also has two losses but is just 5-2 in league play – and Triplett proved a key factor to that end. An all-state selection as a junior, he scattered six hits and walked one before reaching the pitch count limit with two outs in the seventh.
Yet Polk County (8-6, 4-3) had its scoring opportunities, especially early. The Wolverines got a towering two-run homer from Angus Weaver in the second inning, had another runner on in that frame and had two runners on with two outs in the third. Each time, Triplett recorded a strikeout to end the threat.
Polk also had runners reach base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but could never advance any of those into scoring position.
Weaver’s blast made it 3-2 after two innings, but the Hilltoppers picked up a pair of runs in the third to begin to widen the gap. Michael Wilson singled and Triplett doubled to open the inning, with an infield groundout and sacrifice bunt scoring both.
R-S took advantage of two walks and a hit batter to score once in the fourth, then used two singles and a passed ball to plate another run in the fifth. Xavier Toms created a run in the seventh as he reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Issiah Hipp’s base hit.
Micah Hill took the loss for Polk County, pitching four innings and allowing six runs on four hits and five walks. Chan Barber and Lawson Carter teamed to pitch the final three innings, each allowing two hits and a run.
Barber and Coble Cameron were each 2-for-3 at the plate, with Evan Jones and Weaver adding Polk’s other base hits.
The two teams meet again Thursday at R-S Central in the Wolverines’ final game before spring break.