BENTON, Tenn. -- They didn't overwhelm Chattanooga Christian, but Polk County's baseball Wildcats returned to winning ways Thursday with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Chargers.
After losing Monday and Tuesday against Class AAA Walker Valley, the Wildcats got a two-run single in the bottom of the third from Duncan Coffey to erase the Chargers' early lead and then picked up an insurance -- and unearned -- run in the fourth.
"Wins are wins," first-year Polk head coach Michael Carter said, "and we broke a two-game losing streak."
The Wildcats are unbeaten in four District 5-AA games but have key series coming up next week against McMinn Central and the following week against Sequoyah, which also is unbeaten in district games.
CCS fell to 5-9 overall, but the Chargers have a District 7-AA victory against Sequatchie County, which was the preseason favorite and is the district leader.
"The defense as a whole made the plays," CCS coach John Visser observed. "We had opportunities. We're constantly teaching 'Just make contact.' We've been working on it a lot and just didn't get it done today."
The Chargers stranded seven runners and left the bases loaded without getting a run home in the fifth.
Justin Brown, who combined with winning pitcher Hunter Carter for a three-hitter, gave up a leadoff double to Levi Corbett but then walked two of the next three. However, he rallied with a strikeout and an inning-ending flyout to right. The two struck out seven, and the run CCS scored was unearned.
"Those two are juniors and our number 3 and 4 guys. They throw it over the plate," Carter said. "But pitching hasn't been our problem. Like for most teams in Double-A, you catch the ball, you're going to win. We caught it well enough today to win."
The Wildcats didn't hit it as well as Carter might have liked, getting just six hits including two from Coffey. They were handcuffed at times by Chargers right-hander Jay Simms, who went the distance and stranded seven Polk baserunners.
"He did a good job. He stayed around the strike zone," Visser 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 ...