"It's kind of typical of the break we've had playing Monday and Tuesday then being off until Saturday," said Bears coach Travis Adams.
On a perfect day for baseball, the Bears wasted no time getting on the board in the top of the first starting with a Charles Chavis single. Chavis and Jacob Maynard — the first of nine Bears hit by a pitch — scored on a Jacob Barnes single.
Polk County (8-10) cut the 2-0 Bradley Central (13-4) lead in half in their first at bat. With two outs, Duncan Coffey doubled to left field and scores on Matt Hammons' single to right.
After a scoreless second, the Bears used three hit batters and a Barnes bunt single to take a 3-1 advantage in the third.
The Wildcats kept it close in the bottom half of the inning loading the bases on a walk, Coffey single and a Bears' error. A walk to Carter Flowers made it a 3-2 game.
The fourth inning was all Bradley Central. Three singles highlighted by a Barnes double combined with another hit batter and two walks put the Wildcat in an 8-2 hole they would not dig out of. With no outs and four runs in, Carter put the hook on Hunter Carter in favor of Reno Wimberley. The Bears put their fifth run of the inning on the board minutes on a wild pitch before a ground ball put an end to outburst.
"It was rough on the hill for us. Nine hit batters in one game, that's got to be close to a record. I know it's a record for Polk County. Seven walks and nine hit batters, that just takes it out of you from the get go," said a contemplative Polk coach Michael Carter.
"I felt like Jacob's double (in the fourth inning) kind of broke things up and gave us a little bit of breathing room," Adams summed up. "Polk is a scrappy team and we did a good job of not giving away free stuff as far as making errors or walks or hit by pitch. On the other hand they gave up a lot and that comes back to get you."
Adams decided to pull his starter in the bottom of the inning sending Ty King to the hill in relief of Chris Miller. The Bears' starter ended his outing with four hits and four strikeouts and one earned run in three innings of work. Polk's Carter also went three innings allowing eight hits, eight earned runs, three strikeouts and six hit batters.
The Bears added two more runs in the fifth on two hit batters, two walks and two wild pitches. Another run crossed the plate for Bradley in the sixth courtesy of a walk and Barnes single.
Insurance runs were piled on by the Bears in the top half of the seventh. Logan Blackwell and Chavis singled and Caleb Pippinger cracked a double to left helping the Bears take a 14-2 lead. They were helped along with a walk and the ninth plunked Bear of the game.
The Wildcats put one more run on the board in their final at bat after Justin Brown walked and later scored on a ground ball.
"We're trying to find a way to put all three phases of the game hitting pitching and defense together. We're clicking on two out of three. We didn't field it bad today and we hit the baseball. We just didn't get the hits with guys on base," said Carter.
"We had no clean innings. You've got to show up to compete. We had too many strikeouts looking. That shows who's ready to compete and who's not ready to compete. We had guys who didn't show up to compete and that's what happens."
Polk travels to Baylor Monday before taking a couple of days off. The Bears get right back to work and put their perfect District 5-AAA record on the line against Walker Valley Monday and Tuesday.
BEARS 14, WILDCATS 3
Bradley Central 201 521 3 — 14 12 1
Polk County 101 000 1 — 3 7 1
WP: Chris Miller (3-0). LP: Hunter Carter. 2B: Caleb Pippenger, Jacob Barnes (BC); Duncan Coffey (PC). Other highlights: Charles Chavis 3-4, Barnes 3-5 (BC); Coffey 3-4 (PC). Records: Bradley Central 13-4; Polk County 8-10.