A strong start led Darlington to a strong finish
By Drake Horton
Darlington Post 13 snapped a four-game losing streak Thursday June 30 at home, beating Cheraw 8-5.
A five-run second inning, one-run third inning and two-run fourth inning was just enough to help Darlington escape with the win despite Cheraw’s comeback attempt in the sixth inning when it scored three runs, cutting the lead to just three.
“I thought we played a pretty solid first five innings, the sixth was pretty ugly,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said after the game. “I think we were content with an 8-2 lead and kind went through the motions a little bit, went back to some bad habits.”
Post 13 got off to a good start in the second inning when Eric McElveen reached on a Cheraw error and Quay Gandy walked, setting the table for Rylan Weatherford who blasted the first pitch for a base clearing, two-RBI double to the left-centerfield gap.
The scoring did not stop there, however, as Weatherford ended up scoring on a pass ball while Matthew DeMaurice and Jake Jones added RBI singles of their own.
Cheraw answered Darlington’s five runs with two of its own in the top half of the third inning, but that momentum did not last long as Post 13 pushed another run across the board in the bottom of the third inning.
After Drake Adams reached with a two-out single, Cheraw committed another error allowing Adams to score all the way from second.
Darlington added some insurance in the fourth inning, scoring two more runs to increase its lead to 8-2. It started with Jones’ RBI double and finished with Jones scoring on a poor relay throw by the Cheraw pitcher.
Poor pitching and self-inflicted mistakes gave Cheraw some life in the sixth inning as it cut Darlington’s lead from 8-2 to 8-5.
“I’m not real happy,” Gearhart said, discussing his thoughts on the game, especially the debacle in the sixth inning. “I don’t feel like it was a win just because there is so much that we could have done differently or better. It should have been an 8-2 ball game.”
That was all for the scoring, however, as Cheraw was unable to get anything going in the seventh inning as Darlington’s Keshawn Taylor retired all three batters in a row.
“We were fortunate enough that we came out in the seventh and threw strikes,” Gearhart said
The win was critical for Darlington’s season as Post 13 is trying to position themselves for the best seeding possible in the playoffs that start next week.