Darlington blanks Manning in region opener
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
It was the start that head coach Dennis Gearhart was looking for.
Opening up region play at home against the Manning Monarchs this past Tuesday, March 15, the Darlington Falcons won easily, defeating the Monarchs 10-0 in just five innings of play.
“We will take a win where we can get it,” Gearhart said after the win. “Right now it’s about building confidence and getting our guys in a position to learn how to play the game the right way.”
Leading the way for Darlington was pitcher Brycen Brown, who threw five, complete, shutout innings, picking off two Manning runners and striking out six, including the entire side in the fourth.
“The whole theme going into the game was to limit the errors and we didn’t have any errors so that helped,” Brown said, reflecting on what helped his pitching performance. “We won the game on limiting the errors, nothing on my part; it was a complete team effort.”
Brown’s contributions did not solely come from the mound, however. He was just as effective at the plate, going 3-4 with three RBIs including the game-ending RBI in the fifth as it pushed the Falcons 10th run across the plate, therefore invoking the mercy rule.
“I’ve been seeing the ball really well this season,” Brown said.
The game was over before it ever really got started. After holding Manning scoreless in the top half of the first inning, Darlington capitalized on three Monarch errors to bat through the entire lineup and scored four runs in the bottom half of the opening inning.
“We have to take advantage of guys on base,” Gearhart said. “If we have a guy on second we have to be able to move him to third by putting the bat on the ball, by taking advantage of an error they make, by a good base hit, we have to move runners and I thought we did a better job of that tonight.”
Darlington scored at least one run in every inning, scoring one each in the second and fourth while pushing two across the plate in the third and fifth.
It was Brown who was responsible for the run in the second with his second RBI of the game coming off a single to centerfield while Rylan Weatherford was credited with a RBI groundout in the fourth.
In the third inning left fielder Taylor Spangler punished Manning with a little two-out magic, blasting a two-RBI double to the left centerfield wall.
Justin Mack, scoring Jared Boswell on a groundout and Brown, knocking in Garrett Revell for the game-ending run were the two runs in the fifth inning.
Darlington played two other games during the past week with one non-region matchup with the West Florence Knights on Wednesday while the other was a road contest against the Monarchs, the second game against Manning in a week.
The Falcons went 1-1 in the those two games losing to West Florence 15-0, but defeating Manning 5-2 in eight innings on Friday.
That victory improved Darlington’s overall record to 4-5, but more importantly the Falcons are 2-0 in region play.