After being put off by the threat of inclement weather Thursday, the Wildcats left Cleveland head coach Ted Carson and assistant Danny Carson trying to figure out how to get the Blue Raiders’ bats going after a 4-3 loss to the Wildcats.
“The one inning we gave up three runs. We had three walks and a hit batter and they got a big hit when they needed it. That was the story of the game right there,” said Carson.
Polk (11-3) led 1-0 early, but lost the lead to Cleveland (7-9) before rallying back to catch and pass the Raiders for the win.
Wildcats’ coach Michael Carter used three pitchers to finally snuff out Cleveland’s numerous threats to take control of the game.
Hunter Carter, Justin Brown and Duncan Coffey combined to allow only five Cleveland hits, the same number given up by Blue Raider pitchers Colin Tippit, Jake Wyrick and Jackson Earle.
“It was a good pitching performance by all our guys. Carter did what he had to do and Brown came in and helped us out. They could make it a lot easier on themselves and me if they would throw it over the plate,” joked Carter after the win. “Coffey came on to close it out and also got a clutch hit for us. It was just clutch all the way around.”
Conor Hale picked up two of Cleveland’s five hits including a double. Polk’s Coffey was also 2-for-4 at the plate and also cracked a double for the ’Cats.
“He (Hale) has been coming around with the bat. We’ve just got to get some more guys to do that. We had plenty of runners on. We had bases loaded once or twice and had other runners on two or three times. We are leaving way too many guys on base,” said Carson.
Polk took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, but Hale’s double helped the Blue Raiders tie the game in the top half of the fourth on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Koltyn Plumb.
Cleveland took advantage of three walks and a Hale single to go up 3-1 in the fourth.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Wildcats took advantage of walks issued by Cleveland pitching to score three times. Chris Wimberley crossed home on a bases loaded walk. Collin Wimberley and Alex Akins made it 4-3 on Coffey’s 2-out single.
WILDCATS 4, BLUE RAIDERS 3
Cleveland 000 120 0 — 3 5 3
Polk County 010 003 x — 4 5 3
WP: Justin Brown. LP: Jackson Earle. 2B: Conor Hale (C); Duncan Coffey (PC). Highlights: Hale 2-3 (C); Coffey 2-3 (PC). Records: Cleveland 7-9; Polk County 11-3.