Darlington captures first win in junior legion with win over Chesterfield
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
After a rough start to the season with a couple of losses, one suspended game and one rain out, the Darlington Post 13 junior legion baseball team finally got some good weather and a good performance against Chesterfield, winning 3-2 on the road Thursday, June 9.
“I thought pitching wise we came out and threw well, minus the last inning with my pitcher not covering. We played defense the way it’s supposed to be played.” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said after the game.
Behind timely hitting and good defense, Darlington worked its way around Chesterfield’s hard throwing right hander, Kaleb Thomas, scoring an opening run in the top of the first, another run in the third and the final run in the fifth.
In the top of the first inning, Darlington jumped on the board first as Jake Jones drove in Ja’lin Mullins with a RBI ground out to give Post 13 the early 1-0 lead.
That lead was short lived, however, as Chesterfield scored two runs in the bottom half of the second inning as Thomas helped his own cause with a solo blast over the left field wall which was followed by a RBI fielder’s choice giving the home team the 2-1 lead.
Chesterfield’s lead was only for half of an inning though with Darlington tying the game back up in the top half of the third with a two-out RBI single to right field by Matthew DeMaurice.
DeMaurice made his presence felt again in the top of the fifth, hitting what end up being the game-winning RBI as he hit a double to left-center field scoring Keshawn Taylor.
“I think we could have hit better back side,” DeMaurice, commenting on Darlington’s overall approach at the plate, said. “We went up there leaning, trying to hit it front side.”
On the topic of hitting, Gearhart echoed DeMaurice’s comments on Darlington’s offense approach and performance against Chesterfield.
“We didn’t hit the ball real well, didn’t execute, tried to move some runners up bunting, didn’t get that done,” Gearhart said. “I feel like if we would have done the little things right then it’s not a 3-2 game, it’s a 5-2 game, 6-2 game. I thought the pitching was great and defense was good behind it. We have to learn to hit.”
Darlington received a great pitching performance from Gage Weatherford, who allowed just two earned runs in six innings of work. At one point he retired six straight Chesterfield batters between the third and fourth inning.
“I thought we did pretty well,” Weatherford said after his strong pitching performance. “I missed the strike zone a couple of times, that’s where they got the runs off of me.”
Taylor came in and closed the game out for Darlington in the top of the seventh, earning the save.
It was Darlington’s first win of the year and more importantly it was a region win improving its overall record to 1-2 overall, 1-1 in the region.