Falcons comeback twice against Lamar
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
The season might be early, but that does not mean something cannot be learned.
Down twice in the game, the Darlington Falcons baseball team learned a valuable lesson in what it means to show grit and heart, coming back and beating its cross-county rival, the Lamar Silver Foxes by a score of 5-4 this past Wednesday, March 11 at home.
“I’m telling you Lamar is a good team,” Darlington baseball head coach Billy Sylvester said after the game. “They (Lamar) they can swing it. Their top seven guys are swinging the bat pretty good. We got behind early and had to give in and they didn’t miss it. “They hit the ball good, played decent defense and for us to get a win, we are pleased with it.”
Lamar, one of the better teams in 1A over the last five years, went toe to toe with Darlington, no slouch of its own at the 3A over the last five years.
“I thought we played well, I wasn’t disappointed in our effort,” Lamar baseball head coach Adam Windham said. “We had been a little flat the last two games coming out so tonight we just wanted to come out with energy and we did that.”
Darlington was able to make plays when it counted and capitalized on what few mistakes Lamar did make to complete the comeback.
“We made one or two, too many mistakes to win the ball game, struck out a couple times looking with runners in scoring position; you can’t do that and win,” Windham said.
Up 2-1 after four innings, Darlington starting pitcher Eric Dubose looked to be in control, striking out the first two Silver Fox batters in the top of the fifth, but unfortunately for Dubose and the Falcons, Lamar was able to find some of the so called “two-out magic”.
Following the quick two outs, Dubose gave up a single and followed that with a walk prompting Sylvester to change pitchers, sending Brycen Brown to the mound for the Falcons.
The change did not faze Lamar, as Daniel Galloway blasted a two-out double into the left center field, scoring two for the Silver Foxes and giving Lamar a 3-2 lead.
The bleeding did not stop there, however, for Darlington. After Galloway’s at bat, Lamar’s Cole Bennett, who already had a RBI in the first inning, singled to left field and an error by the Falcons Austin White allowed Galloway to score, giving the Silver Foxes a 4-2 lead.
Darlington responded with a three-run inning in the bottom half of the fifth.
The Falcons did and saw a little bit of everything that inning. After loading the bases following back to back walks and a hit batsman, Darlington’s Luke Bonnoitt’s ground ball went through the legs of Lamar’s Parker Vause, allowing two runs to score and tying the game back up a four.
“We didn’t lie down,” Sylvester said. “We were able to come back and work the count and get a couple of walks and hit batsman and then to get a hit and Chop (Justin Mack) got a big sac fly to get the go ahead run in.”
Mack, Darlington’s first baseman, hit what ended up being the game-winning RBI sacrifice fly right after all the walks and the Lamar error, giving the Falcons a 5-4 lead.
“I had a lot of pressure on me, but my team relied on me and I knew I was going to come through like I did last year against Strom Thurmond,” Mack said on the at bat. “So I just kept my head on straight; see the ball, hit the ball.”
After a scoreless sixth inning Lamar made one more attempt at a comeback as the Silver Foxes were able to get a runner on third base with two outs. Darlington’s Dustin Knotts, who had come on in the sixth, was able to strike Galloway out to end the game and give the Falcons the victory.
“I just came in and shut them down, I couldn’t think of nothing else,” Knotts said on his pitching performance.
Lamar jumped to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, but Darlington answered in the second, tying the game up in the bottom half of the inning White jumped on Lamar’s Luke Amerson’s first pitch for an RBI double to right center field.