MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Polk County just never found its rhythm and the Wildcats were headed home this morning after going winless in the Class AA state baseball tournament.
They had a lead against Christian Academy of Knoxville but starting pitcher Tyler Lee faltered, a pitching change didn’t help and CAK rallied from a 5-1 deficit for a 6-5 victory over the Wildcats. The win came on the heels of a Tuesday loss when Polk gave up three first-inning runs to DeKalb County and could never get the lead.
“We knew going in that pitching was key, and I know that pitching-wise we didn’t finish the game,” said Polk County coach Bill Triplett, who three weeks ago announced his retirement effective when the season was over.
“We played great defense two straight days, but sometimes you play games you feel like you could win and just don’t get it done. That was the case the last two games, but you have to give CAK some credit. We were throwing strikes but they were executing — getting the job done.”
Polk took a 5-1 lead in the fifth. Collin Wimberley walked and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw before Jared Allen doubled him home. Michael Hargrove, who reached back in 11 consecutive at-bats dating back to the Region 3 championship, was intentionally walked. Lee and Alex Akins then followed with run-scoring singles.
CAK cut the lead to 5-4 with three in the bottom of the fifth and then plated the winning runs on Dalton Keck’s two-run single.
Polk ended the year 24-13.
“People expected us to be in the region, the sectional and here. I’m glad we got here and I’m glad the seniors who are leaving raised the bar and go out on a high note,” Triplett said.
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...