Hot bats, stellar pitching and stout defense lead Darlington Falcons past Manning
By Drake Horton
A good start, a good middle and a good finish resulted in the Darlington Falcons run-ruling the Manning Monarchs 11-1 in six innings at home April 15.
“That is an excellent way to bounce back from our last outing and that is what you want to see coming down the stretch, getting ready for playoffs,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said.
“This is a resilient group, a group that is going to fight back and live to see a next day. That’s what it’s about.
“You have to take each game one at a time; we put Saturday (the Hartsville game) past us and came out and played a different ballgame tonight.”
Darlington could not have asked for a better start.
After starting pitcher Luke Flowers retired the opening three Manning hitters with ease, the Falcons’ bats came out smoking in the bottom half of the opening inning.
Gage Weatherford led off with a single and from there Darlington went to work.
With one out and the bases loaded Campbell Outlaw got hit by the pitch, driving in the first of three runs that inning.
Garrett Knight followed the run scoring hit-by-pitch with an RBI groundout and Brian Robinson drilled a single into center field on the first pitch to put the Falcons up 3-0.
After a scoreless second inning, Darlington decided to stretch its three-run lead to seven, scoring four more runs.
Outlaw picked up his second RBI of the game on single to right field.
Malike Coopers drilled a two-RBI triple to the left-center field wall and Mike Dixon picked up the last RBI with groundout to third.
Manning finally picked up a run in the fifth on a solo homer, but that was basically the only offense of the game for the Monarchs.
Manning did not pick up its first hit of the game until the fourth inning and finished with only three for the entire game.
Darlington was unable to answer that run of Manning’s in the fifth, but after holding the Monarchs scoreless in the sixth the Falcons went for the kill in the bottom of the inning, scoring the four runs need to invoke the 10-run rule.
In the bottom of the sixth Darlington sent eight hitters to the plate and seven reached with three of the four runs not even scoring on a hit, but instead by two walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Jacob Adams had the one RBI by a hit with a single to right field.
It was Robinson, who picked the game-ending RBI, with a walk.
The Falcons played in two other games this past week, defeating West Florence on April 16 and Manning again this past Thursday on the road.
Darlington’s regular season is now officially wrapped up and the Falcons finished 13-8 overall, 6-4 in the region.
They now prepare for the playoffs where they will start on the road against Airport.