In three meetings between the Wildcats and Bears this season, Bradley Central (20-12) has outscored Polk (15-9) 44-3. Saturday, the Bears built a 1-0 lead to a 6-1 advantage before the Big Red baseball train completely derailed in the fifth. Bradley scored eight times to put the game away.
"Once we got a bunch of runs up, it was a tall task to ask anybody to come back with Jordan (Whitmire) out there going," said Bears coach Travis Adams. "I felt like we did all right. We did some things where we'd like to be more consistent, but everybody's mind has pretty much shifted to the district tournament now. We are just trying to give some people some looks and keep everybody freshened up. All in all, it was a good team win," said Adams.
Whitmire went the distance for Bradley giving up only four hits, none after the fourth inning.
Polk starter Hunter Carter lasted two innings before a sore arm sent Justin Brown to the mound in relief. Duncan Coffey came on with one out in the bottom of the fifth to finish up. Collectively, the Polk pitchers gave up 16 hits to the Bears on the afternoon.
The Wildcats opened offensively with a solid first inning to tie the game at 1-1, scoring their lone run on a single by Alex Akins and Duncan Coffey.
"It was a total lack of competitiveness," said Carter. "You can't just decide when you want to compete and when you can't. It's baseball, every day you have to show up and compete. Our guys still, after two months of play, haven't figured out that you have to show up and compete every day. When you don't show up to compete, things like this happen."
Bradley Central took the lead for good in the top half of the third with three runs on a double by Jacob Maynard and singles from Robbie Works and Cal Pickel.
The Bears made it 6-1 in the fourth thanks to a leadoff walk to Chase Wiseman and singles by Caleb Pippenger, Charlie Brown and Pickel.
Bradley put the game on ice in the fifth with eight runs to go up 14-1. The Bears sent 14 batters to the plate with Works singling twice while Maynard and Chandler Duggan both hit safely. Pippenger helped the cause with a double to left field. Polk pitching added to the melee with three walks and two errors.
"It was a good team win," said Adams. "With Jordan going on the mound, he is a tone setter and we scrapped a couple of runs early and the younger kids we have in the lineup now came through in some of the critical parts of the game for us. That is good to see, we played well enough on defense to keep them in check."
Both teams will switch focus on their respective tournaments beginning this week.
"We've got the 5-AA tournament coming up next and everybody will be 0-0. We will go from there," said Carter. "We've got one on Monday and one on Tuesday and we will get to it after that. We will go at it from that point.
BEARS 14, WILDCATS 1
Bradley Central 103 28 — 14 16 1
Polk County 100 00 — 1 4 4
WP: Jordan Whitmire (5-3). LP: Justin Brown. 2B: Caleb Pippenger, Jacob Maynard (BC). Highlights: Jamie Works 4-5, 3 RBI, Maynard 3-4, 4 RBI, Jacob Barnes 1-2, 2 RBI, Charlie Brown 1-2 RBI, Chandler Duggan 2-3 RBI, Pippenger 2-3 (BC); Alex Akins 1-2 RBI (PC). Records: Bradley Central 20-12; Polk County 15-9.