Polk Lady Wildcats hold off late Cleveland rally
by By RICHARD ROBERTS Banner Sports Editor
Apr 16, 2013 | 499 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Polk County vs Cleveland softball
POLK COUNTY’S Felicia Johnson slides safely into third in front of Cleveland shortstop Shay Sparks in the fourth inning Monday, at Cleveland. Banner photo, LYNNAE ROBERTS
view slideshow (14 images)
The Lady Raiders keep inching closer to that breakthrough win, but keep finding ways to fall just short, much to the chagrin of head coach Connie Stobert.

“It comes down to us doing our job at the plate. We did well on defense today, Haley (Hodgson) pitched a good game and we played good defense, which is good for us because we’ve had a lot of runs scored on us. But, at this point it doesn’t matter how good the defense is, you’ve got to produce,” said Stobert after her Lady Raiders failed to follow through on a seventh inning rally and fell to Polk County, 3-1. “We didn’t adjust to the pitching and that hurt us at the end. You can’t wait until the seventh inning to start doing something, you’ve got to plug along every inning and we just didn’t do that.”

Lady Wildcats head coach Bill Triplett was as displeased with the win as Stobert was with the 18th consecutive loss by the Lady Raiders.

“We were lucky. We played bad enough that if we play that way down the stretch in AA softball we will get run ruled. Every position player out here, every hitter, it’s like we have never seen the game,” lamented Triplett before his postgame debriefing of the Lady Wildcats. “I really think we are feeling sorry for ourselves because our three-hole hitter (Sydney Sloan) is hurt and nobody wants to take up the slack. That’s what I think and that’s what I’m going to question them about. They are looking around expecting somebody else to do the job.

With the score knotted at 0-0, Polk broke the deadlock in the top of the third on an Abi Dye single and a Lily Cuzzort double to right-center field to take a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Wildcats added another run in the fourth on a 24 single and Cleveland error to go up 2-0. Back-to-back doubles off the bats of Dye and Lydia Triplett made it a 3-0 game.

“We kept Cleveland in the game the whole day. We had leadoff doubles and we didn’t execute. It was not good softball at all. We were lucky to get a win,” said a frustrated Triplett. “Hats off to Cleveland, they battled all night until the bitter end. Hats off to them. I’ve got to give them a lot of credit.”

The Lady Raiders, after being held to only two hits in six innings, once again refused to go quietly. Teliyah Cobb led off with a single just over the third-base bag and later scored on a Polk error. Dye banged a single to left in front of the miscue and Kaci Roland reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases with one out. Allison Botts lifted a sacrifice fly to center apparently scoring Haley Hodgson from third. But a runner leaving early appeal by Polk was ruled the game ending third out giving the Lady Wildcats the 3-1 win.

“I didn’t agree with the call at the end but it happens, they’re human. I told the girls we can’t blame it on that one call because we didn’t do what we were supposed to do in the beginning,” said Stobert. “We were close. We were close again and that hurts. It hurts when you get a call like that at the end, but it just came down to us not adjusting.”

LADY WILDCATS 3, LADY RAIDERS 1

Polk County 001 100 1 — 3 6 2

Cleveland 000 000 1 — 1 4 3

WP: Hannah Triplett. LP: Haley Hodgson. 2B: Kaitlyn Williams (2) Lily Cuzzort (PC). Other highlights: Abi Dye 3-4 (C). Records: Polk County 12-9; Cleveland 0-18.