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Sweep of Jackets needed

The North Lincoln Knights let a golden opportunity fall by the wayside Tuesday against Polk County, losing 12-9.
The loss forces the Knights (8-12, 7-3) to have to win both games at Bessemer City on Thursday in order to claim the Southern Foothills’ championship.
After a 13-0 dismantling of Maiden on Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets are 16-6, 9-1 in the SF 1A.
Conversely, if the Knights lose both games at Bessemer City, they would find themselves in third place behind Hendersonville. Hendersonville is currently 7-4 in conference play.
“We had a perfect opportunity to go ahead and take even more control of getting into the playoffs. I think the pressure just got to us,” said North Lincoln head coach Sean Andrews. “It wasn’t the same team that’s been out there the last two weeks.”
“They were tense. They let the importance of the game take over, rather than just winning and doing what they could do,” he added.
Alex Loftin suffered the loss, working six and two thirds, striking out eight and allowing 14 hits.
Senior Ryan Pendleton led North Lincoln at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance with two RBIs. Josh Belk and Michael Gibson both collected two hits and two RBIs as well.
T.J. Skidmore went 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
In the fourth inning, Daniel McEntyre laced a triple to right-center. Andrews believes it was a huge momentum play in the game.
“That got him going and their team followed him. He’s a senior and he leads by example,” he said of the speedy McEntyre would has 40 stolen bases on the season.
McEntyre went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Zack Edney and Josh Edwards both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Wolverines.
Polk County scored four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 12-7 lead.
With one opportunity squandered, Andrews hopes his team won’t squander another one on Thursday.
“At this point, the regular season conference championship is there, but I want to win at least one game so I can maintain second place,” he said.
“I don’t want to think about losing two games on Thursday and dropping to third place.”

Polk County 302 201 4—12 15 1
North Lincoln 321 001 2—9 14 2
by John Mark Brooks

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