Polk County's Kinsley Lancaster tags out Patton's Alex Maines for the final out of the sixth inning in Thursday's game

A victory could have come at no better time for Polk County’s softball team.

The manner in which the win was achieved – that may do much for the Wolverines’ confidence.

Patton took a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth Thursday and Polk County immediately responded, putting together a three-run rally in the bottom of the inning and turning a game-ending double play in the seventh to claim a 4-3 victory.

The Wolverines (5-3, 1-3) had lost three of their last four and were winless in Mountain Foothills 7 Conference play. But Polk didn’t let the late two-run deficit deter its hopes for a much-needed win.

Miya Jackson singled to open the bottom of the sixth, with Chloe Young and Sarah Vitale hammering back-to-back one-out doubles to even the score. With two outs, Elizabeth Vitale cracked the Wolverines’ third double of the inning, a deep drive that easily allowed courtesy runner Taylor Lancaster to race home with the go-ahead run.

The Wolverines still had work to do, though, as Patton put two batters on base with one out and dangerous leadoff batter Kara Redwine at the plate. Redwine smashed a line drive up the middle, but Young charged in center, snared the liner and tossed it to second to double up Patton’s lead runner and end the game.

“Couldn’t be happier,” said Polk County head coach Phillip Miller of the win. “We’ve had timed where we just couldn’t close it out, but I think we’re starting to mature a little and will be able to close games from now on.

“Hopefully, we can build on that and start winning some conference games. And as crazy as our conference is, we’re right in it. One win changes everything.”

Polk County’s Taylor Lancaster heads for home with the eventual winning run in Thursday’s game

Redwine singled and scored in the opening inning to give Patton (4-5, 1-1) a 1-0 lead, but Polk evened the game in the third. Junie Mitchell slammed a double into the gap in right-center, with courtesy runner Bailey Staton scoring on Mia Bradley’s two-out double.

The game remained tied at 1 until Patton’s two-run sixth. The Panthers might well have added another run were it not for a heads-up play by Mitchell, who caught a Patton runner too far off third after a base hit and fired a strike to Kinsley Lancaster, who tagged the runner out to end the inning.

“Chloe made a heckuva play to end it,” Miller said of his defense. “Mia’s done well, too. Sarah made some good plays in the circle, too, with a bunch of balls hit at her. Those are the people that we thought we’re going to lead us, and they’re leading us.”

Polk had six hits in the game, those coming from Mitchell, Bradley, Young, Sarah Vitale, Elizabeth Vitale and Jackson.

Polk County will host Burns on Monday at 5 p.m. in a non-conference game.