Darlington rides big second inning to win over West Florence
By Drake Horton
Darlington – The game might have lasted all seven innings, but it took Darlington just one inning to defeat the West Florence junior legion baseball team this past Wednesday at home.
“It’s a league win and we’ll take it,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said.
Going into bottom of the second inning down 5-2, Darlington punished the West Florence pitching staff, which changed pitchers twice in the inning, for 10 runs.
“We took advantage that inning,” Gearhart said.
The inning started with Jake Blackmon reaching on an error and from there it was one thing after another that helped Darlington get the 10 runs it scored in the inning.
Following the leadoff error that put Blackmon on, Darlington loaded the bases with no outs and Quez Mullins delivered with a two-RBI single. Chase Weatherford followed that with another two-RBI single.
After Weatherford’s single, Darlington loaded the bases again. Karson Norris was hit by a pitch, which drove in the next run of the inning but the bleeding for West Florence did not stop.
Two batters later, Peyton Godwin reached on another West Florence error and two more Darlington runners scored. Right after that Blackmon, who started the inning off was back up to hit and had another productive at-bat, knocking in another run on a groundout.
Two batters later Darlington loaded the bases for the third time in the inning and off of that it scored two more runs, which ended up being the last runs of the game for them.
Thankfully for Darlington that 10-run inning was enough because they did not score any more runs for the rest of game.
West Florence on the other hand kept working, scoring two runs in the fourth and three runs in the fifth to turn what was a seven-run deficit into a just two.
Leading by just two runs, Darlington’s Lex Blackmon came on in the sixth inning, shutting West Florence for the final two innings and securing the 12-10 league win.
It was not the prettiest of nights for both pitching staffs and some of it seemed to be a result of a very tight strike zone from the behind the plate umpire. There were a total of 15 walks, with Darlington batters walking eight times and West Florence batters walking seven times.
“It was a tough night to be a pitcher and you had to rely on the sticks to carry you through it,” Gearhart said. “Both teams made mistakes, both teams gave free passes, we just ended up picking up a few more than they did.”
And while it was not pretty for the pitchers, Darlington’s Chase Weatherford was able to weather the storm enough to keep his team in the game.
Weatherford’s main contribution, however, seemed to come from the plate as he finished the night with three RBIs.
The win improved Darlington to 5-0 on the year.
Darlington played the second of back to back games against West Florence this past Thursday on the road and while the team played well, the result was not as good as the night before.
Despite out hitting West Florence, Darlington fell to West Florence 6-3.
The lost is Darlington’s first on the year as its record is now 5-1.