A seven-run deficit didn’t faze Polk County on Tuesday evening, the Wolverines battling back to overcome that margin at Landrum.
The Cardinals, though, had the final rally, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim a wild 12-11 victory over the Wolverines in Landrum.
Polk County dropped to 2-1 with the loss. It was the season opener for the Cardinals.
How it happened: Where to even begin?
A tight 2-2 game turned Landrum’s way in the bottom of the fourth, the Cardinals exploding for seven runs with a flurry of base hits to grab a 9-2 advantage.
But Polk County didn’t let the deficit spoil their hopes of remaining undefeated. The Wolverines responded with a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by Laney Littlefield’s bases-loaded double, and might have had more had it not been for a spectacular inning-ending catch by Landrum second baseman Gianna Delucca, racing near the right-field line for a diving over-the-shoulder grab of Mia Bradley’s fly ball.
Landrum added a run in the bottom of the fifth for a 10-7 advantage, but Polk answered again with two runs in the top of the sixth. Base hits by Sarah Vitale and Amberlyn Scruggs opened the inning, with Elizabeth Vitale’s infield grounder bringing home one run and Katelyn Arrowood’s base hit driving home another to slice the Landrum edge to one.
Polk then completed its comeback in the top of the seventh with two more runs. Junie Mitchell and Miya Jackson singled to open the inning, and with two outs, Scruggs drew a walk to load the bases. Elizabeth Vitale followed with a base hit down the left-field line that scored Mitchell and Jackson and gave Polk an 11-10 advantage.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Landrum’s Alyssa Greene beat out a slow-rolling grounder. Abby Hammer then drilled a base hit off the fence in left-center, and a pair of Polk errors on the play eventually allowed both Greene and Hammer to score the tying and winning runs.
At the plate: Sarah Vitale finished 3-for-5 to lead Polk County’s offense, with Scruggs, Kayleigh Wilson and Mitchell each adding two hits. Scruggs was injured in a collision at home plate in the top of the seventh and had to be helped from the field with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Elizabeth Vitale, Arrowood, Littlefield and Jackson each added a hit.
Next up: Polk County will make its home debut on Wednesday, hosting Owen for a 4:30 p.m. game.