Darlington gets Wilson Tigers by the tail
By Don Gearhart
It took a while before the Darlington Falcons baseball team could tame their old rival from Florence. Wilson jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Dawson Young got things started with a walk. Keonte Dials single moved Young to third base and he scored when Rondell Law hit into a fielders choice.
Wilson’s lead increased to 3-0 in the third inning. TJ Myers got aboard on an error. Young singled to put two runners aboard. Dials grounded to short but the ball was thrown away at first base allowing Myers to score and Young to advance to third. Dials, however, was out trying to take second base on the error. Troy Jones knocked in Young with a base hit.
Darlington finally got on the board in the fourth inning. With one out, Shemar Simes doubled off the wall in left field. Walks to Gage McKenzie and Bryson Britt loaded the bases. A strikeout later, Milijah Holt walked to bring home Simes and Darlington now trailed 3-1.
The Tigers came out growling in the top of the fourth. A walk to Law and two wild pitches put a runner on third with one out. Walk scored when a fielders choice off the bat of Deshaun Robinson was thrown away. Tremel Echols walked to put two runners on the bases. KK Durant singled to right field and both runners crossed the plate when the ball rolled through the right fielder’s glove all the way to the wall. McKenzie was replaced on the mound by Britt who struck out the next two batters to end the Wilson barrage. Emmanuel Pendergrass walked to start the Falcons half of the fourth inning. Shane Oliver followed suit. Chuck Keith then got credit for a base hit when his sacrifice bunt was perfectly placed and could not be fielded in time for a play at first. On the first pitch to Simes, the big shortstop crushed a grand slam homer far over the left field wall to put Darlington withing a run at 6-5. After McKenzie flied out, Britt doubled over the center fielder’s head. An out later, Holt tied the game with an RBI double, then scored on a base hit from Ashley Avin to put the Falcons in front for the first time. Avin scored when a pickoff throw, as he was leading off third, sailed down the left field line and the Falcons carried an 8-6 lead heading to the sixth inning.
Britt retired the Tigers with two quick outs before Jones singled and advanced to second on a steal, then took third when the throw to second went into center field. Britt struck out the dangerous Law to end the inning. McKenzie walked to start the Falcons sixth. Britt also walked and Chase Watson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. McKenzie scored on a wild pitch. Avin doubled to drive in Britt and the Falcons lead had widened to 10-6 with just an inning remaining.
Britt completed an excellent relief stint by striking out the side in Wilson’s last stanza. The big righty got the win with 2 2/3 innings of one hit ball, walking none, and striking out six of the nine batters he faced. Pharrell Williams took the loss for Wilson.
Dials and Jones, with two hits each, had four of Wilson’s five hits. Simes and Avin had two hits each for Darlington.