DECATUR, Tenn. - For six innings Kyle Carden was virtually untouchable.
For the first four he matched Polk County's Duncan Coffey. He then nursed a two-run advantage through the fifth and six.
And then, after pitching out of bases-loaded jams twice, the Meigs County baseball team's only senior ran out of steam. Polk took advantage and won 6-2.
"I probably should've pulled him, but I wanted to give him a chance to finish it out," Tigers coach Justin Jennings said. "It was their fourth time through the lineup and he just ran out of gas."
By the time Carden left the mound, the visiting Wildcats had swapped a 2-0 deficit for a 4-2 lead and still had two runners on. They got those two in and Coffey faced just four batters in preserving Polk's third District 5-AA win without a loss.
"Carden threw well, but I thought we'd get to him quicker than we did," Polk coach Michael Carter said.
Carter was nervous heading into the sixth but got the situation he wanted for the top of the seventh -- his top of the order getting one last chance.
"Our bats had been dead last week, but the type of [larger school] competition we've been playing will help us out in the district," Carter said.
Coffey wasn't worried, even after giving up two runs in the fourth.
"I knew we'd get the bats going. It had been our fault in the earlier innings, just being impatient and popping up," he said.
Nolan Bishop, the Wildcats' nine-hole hitter, led off the seventh with an infield single. Chris Wimberley then delivered his second hit of the day, setting the stage for Justin Brown's run-scoring double to right-center. Coffey reached on an error and Matt Hammons beat out an infield grounder, setting the stage for Andrew Aldridge's two-run single to left.
On that play, another run scored on an errant throw, and then Aldridge scored run No. 6 on Carter Flowers' right-side groundout.
"The defense didn't help out a whole lot at the end, but we didn't hit very well," Jennings said. "I think we had five hits and two of those were bunts. Everybody knows in this league you're never safe with two runs."
Contact Ward Gossett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-886-4765.