Wolverines fend off late North Henderson rally to give Miller a happy birthday

Phillip Miller had to wait a few extra minutes Wednesday for his postgame birthday cookie.

The Polk County softball coach watched his young Wolverines build a 7-0 lead Wednesday, then survive a North Henderson rally to claim an 8-5 non-conference home victory.

Polk County (5-4) scored in three of the first four innings in building its early seven-run advantage. But Emily Cohee’s two-run homer in the top of the fifth sparked North Henderson (1-9), which got the tying run to the plate in the seventh before the Wolverines closed the game.

“It’s always good to bounce back with a win,” Miller said as Polk rebounded from Tuesday’s 12-2 loss to Chase. “We’ve got a lot of things to work on, but to be as young as we are, we’re coming along.”

Polk, which starts four freshmen and three sophomores and doesn’t have a senior on the roster, grabbed an early 2-0 lead. Mia Bradley, Sarah Vitale and Elizabeth Vitale all singled and Katelynn Arrowood added an RBI grounder to give the Wolverines the advantage.

Polk County upped the lead to 4-0 in the third on a sterling Chloe Young at-bat, the sophomore fouling off several two-strike pitches before drilling a deep fly ball to right field for a triple that scored both Vitales.

Laney Littlefield had an RBI single and Elizabeth Vitale had a run-scoring sacrifice fly to pace Polk County’s three-run rally in the fourth that built the margin to 7-0. The Wolverines then added another run in the sixth as Amberlyn Scruggs’ base hit drove in Bradley, who singled earlier in the inning.

Trailing 8-3 entering its final at-bat, North Henderson took advantage off a pair of Polk County errors and Stephanie Gamos’ base hit to tally three runs. The damage could have been worse – Young threw out Emma Michna at the plate for the first out of the inning.

With the score 8-5, the Knights had runners at first and third, but Sarah Vitale induced an infield grounder for the final out and the win.

Sarah Vitale finished 3-for-4 for Polk, with Elizabeth Vitale, Bradley, Young and Scruggs each adding two hits. Ada Kelley and Littlefield each added a base hit.

Sarah Vitale struck out seven in recording the win.

Polk County is set to travel Friday to Chase for a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference game.

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