Camden takes game one with big second and seventh innings

By Drake Horton
Contributing Writer

Darlington – Sometimes all it takes is just one moment to shape the outcome of what is about to happen.
This past Monday, July 9, Darlington had two of those moments, one in the second inning and one in the seventh, that led to Camden winning 10-7 on the road in the first game of the opening best-of-three series in the junior legion baseball playoffs.

“I guess it is a tale of two different ball games really,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said. “They jumped out on us early, we couldn’t make plays in the field and gave them some extra outs and they turned them into runs. We battled back, but Chase ran out of pitches and they hit Lex around a little bit. It’s playoff baseball, you have to come out and play clean defense.”

First let us start with the second inning. With one on and one out, Camden hit what looked to be a perfectly placed ground ball to setup the 4-6-3 double play. Instead, Darlington’s middle infielders fumbled the exchange, resulting in everyone being safe.

It was that error, that moment, that seemed to change the game completely. Following the error, Camden went on a tear, scoring four runs in the inning when it all reality it should not have scored any.

“I talk all the time, you give teams extra outs they are going to make you pay for it, especially good baseball teams, and they did that tonight,” Gearhart said.

If that was not tough enough to swallow, the way in which Camden scored those four runs was even tougher to stomach.

The first run came on a bases loaded walk, the second and fourth runs came on wild pitches and the third run came on a groundout that was perfectly placed. Camden actually had only two base hits in that entire four-run second inning.

Down by four Darlington tried to methodically mount a comeback, scoring one run in the third and two more in the fifth after Camden had scored another in the top half to cut deficit to just two.

That leads us to our second major moment of the game. To start the seventh inning Gearhart was forced to go the bullpen due to starting pitcher Chase Weatherford reaching his pitch count and he chose Lex Blackmon.

It was not that Chase was overly dominating, but Camden absolutely teed off on Blackmon, scoring five runs on five hits while also earning two walks and having one get hit by a pitch.

Just like that, Camden’s two run lead ballooned to seven and extinguished any thoughts of Darlington being able to come back.

Surprisingly however, Darlington did make the bottom half of the seventh very interesting. Down by seven and down to its final out of the game, Darlington scored four runs on two outs.

First Karson Norris blasted a two-run homer over the left field wall. That was followed by three straight walks to load the bases for Campbell Outlaw, who came through with two-RBI single to right field.

With runners on second and third, Darlington had the tying run at the plate, but Camden was able to strikeout Tyler Berry to end the game and end what would have been a remarkable comeback.

Weekly Recap

Darlington battled back to win game two of the best of three series, defeating Camden 9-6 on the road to set up the deciding game three back at home.

Unfortunately Darlington came up short again at home, losing 9-3. The loss ends Darlington season.

Author: Stephan Drew

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