What to make of Darlington’s surprising junior varsity success
By Drake Horton
Darlington – Over the last couple of weeks, due to various reasons I have not been able to cover any of Darlington’s junior legion baseball games.
During that time span Darlington has gone 3-1, splitting with Hartsville and sweeping Chesterfield while both games against Cheraw were postponed for a later date.
So for the purpose of this article I want to break away from all journalistic principles and write a piece that has both opinion and fact.
We will start off with the facts of how this season is going and we will end it with the opinions of how I feel about what it all means in the long run for the future of Darlington’s high school baseball program as a whole.
I want to start off with a real simple question. Have you noticed Darlington’s junior legion baseball team?
If you have, then kudos to you. I am sure that this early part of summer has been quite an enjoyment. But if you have not, let me catch you up on what has been happening.
Quietly, Darlington is an impressive 8-2 and is in strong contention to win its region. Against its regional opponents it has swept Marlboro County and Chesterfield, split with West Florence and Hartsville and has McBee and Cheraw left to take on.
With this success has also come some dramatic moments for Darlington, with two of the biggest ones coming from Chase Weatherford. The first came in the opening game of the season when Weatherford hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game and the second was when he threw a no-hitter against Hartsville.
That’s not too bad to have two moments like that in just 10 ball games, but this type of production and these types of moments have not stopped there.
At least twice this year Darlington has scored at least 10 runs in an inning and in one of those innings Quez Mullins had six RBIs on two bases loaded clearing doubles. Yes, I said that right: six RBIs in one inning. That is pretty close to video game material.
But what does all of this success mean? Are we seeing Darlington’s baseball program take a big step in the right direction or is this just some type of false hope that will bring us back to reality when high school baseball starts next season?
Those are big questions and the answers are hard to come up with. First and foremost I truly believe winning is contagious and the more you win the more confidence you are going to have as a team and that is something that Darlington is enjoying right now.
Unfortunately that confidence can be a false hope, nothing more than a mirage created by the extenuating circumstances.
These circumstances can vary from different things like the amount of varsity players on team compared to the other teams all the way to the strength of the region.
An example is Darlington currently has four varsity players playing on its team compared to Hartsville, whose team is comprised of nothing but junior varsity players. As for the other teams I am not sure what their rosters are comprised of.
This factor could play a serious role in how strong the region actually is. Obviously, if Darlington is playing a bunch a junior varsity teams with a handful of varsity players they are going to have an advantage.
But my outlook on this is more with a glass half full approach. The fact of the matter is Darlington is winning and whether it is against lower competition or not it is going out and doing its job, getting better each night and that is what all summer baseball is all about.
This means nothing, but better things for Darlington baseball in the future if you ask me.
Plus, the great Bill Parcells once said, “you are as good as your record is”. Well I think most people would agree that an 8-2 record is pretty good.