Different day, familiar problem for Polk County.
A rare Saturday afternoon affair at The Bottoms did not bring the change of offensive fortune that Polk County would have preferred, Brevard rallying for a 5-3 victory in the regular season finale for both teams.
The loss left the two teams tied for fourth place in the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference standings. Polk County (9-11, 5-7) is expected to receive at an-large berth into the 2A state playoffs, with those pairings to be announced Monday and first-round games set for Tuesday.
Polk County had just four hits, but had ample scoring opportunities early as Brevard starter Kaedan Clark walked seven batters in three and a third innings. But the Wolverines could never get the timely hit needed to break open a close game, and Brevard (13-8, 5-7) capitalized with a winning seventh-inning rally.
Polk left eight runners on base in the game, seven of those in the first four innings.
“We’ve struggled at the plate all season,” said Polk County head coach Billy Alm. “We just couldn’t get the big hit when we had runners on base, and that’s been the story of our season.”
Yet the Wolverines still had a shot at sweeping the week’s two-game series with Brevard thanks in part to Coble Cameron. The senior allowed eight hits, but struck out seven in six-plus innings of work.
“Coble pitched great,” Alm said. “Through six innings he had thrown just 89 pitches, which is not many for him. He just had a bad last inning.
“But he did what he’s done all year for us and pitched great.”
Polk grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Chan Barber singled and Cameron walked with one out. Both runners then scored on Micah Hill’s bouncing base hit up the middle for an early 2-0 advantage.
Brevard tied the game in the fourth on Caleb Salter’s two-out, two-run single, but the Wolverines regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning, loading the bases on three walks. Cameron followed with a soft grounder that forced a runner out at home, but an error on the ensuing throw to first allowed Kendall McEntyre to race home and give Polk a 3-2 lead.
The score stayed that way until the seventh, when Garrett Swicegood drilled a two-run double to deep left field and then scored on Mitchell Pruitt’s groundout.
Brevard’s Lawson Powell earned the win, striking out five, allowing just one hit with no walks in three and two-thirds innings of relief.
Evan Jones, Barber, Cameron and Hill accounted for Polk’s four hits.
“Our defense did a great job. We didn’t have any mistakes,” Alm said. “Coach (Josh) Money called a great game. We did everything well except hit.”