Darlington softball loses to West Florence
By Don Gearhart
Region leader West Florence saw themselves in a hole against the Lady Falcons of Darlington after an inning of play.
WFHS started out okay with a lead-off walk, but what appeared to be a line drive in the gap was speared by second baseman Brayli Weatherford and the ensuing throw to first base caught the Lady Knights baserunner for a nifty double play.
In Darlington’s half of the first, Ary McPhail lead off with a ground single through the hole between short and third and Whitney Turner worked a base on balls. Ashton Goodwin’s fielder’s choice to short caught McPhail trying to advance to third. With runners on second and first, Alayna Williamson came through with a base hit to knock in Turner and put the Lady Falcons on the board. Kansas Cassidy then doubled down the right field line to plate both runner and Darlington led 3-0 after one inning.
Being behind is not something West Florence is used to and quickly remedied the situation. Winning pitcher Annie Ruth Eliason led off the second with a bloop single to right. After Mia Boykin walked on four pitches, Kalee Windham followed with a base on balls. Eliason scored on Ava Gainey’s RBI single. Darlington replaced Katelyn Church on the mound with Weatherford.
Boykin was retired at the plate on a comebacker to Weatherford. It looked like the Lady Falcons would survive the attack but two consecutive fielding errors kept the inning going with the runs scoring on both errors.
Abby Gibbs drove in two more runs with a single and Taryn Weatherford’s sacrifice fly drove home another run. Eliason walked to put two aboard and Boykin emptied the bases with a home run to left field. When the dust settled, WFHS had responded to take a 9-3 lead going into the bottom of the second. Darlington did not manage a threat in their half of the second.
West added to their lead in the third when Madi DuBose led off with a hit and stole second base. After two outs, Summer Holland walked. When Holland attempted to steal second, the throw went into the outfield allowing both runners to score and give the Lady Knights an 11-3 lead. Darlington was unable to put runners on base in their half of the third. WFHS added their a run in the fourth. After loading the bases, the lone run crossed the plate when Windham earned the RBI with a bases fielder’s choice.
With WFHS unable to score in the fifth, Darlington made a statement in their half of the fifth that they were not going to be defeated by the 10-run rule.
Lindsey Tiller led off with a pinch hit single. She was erased when Turner grounded into a fielder’s choice. Both Carley Gainey and Goodwin walked to load the bases. Williamson grounded to second base but the ball caromed off the fielder’s glove to allow Turner to score. Cassidy hit a slow grounder to second as well that could not be cleanly fielded allowing Gainey to score making the 12-5 West lead a little closer.
Bailey Blackmon had held WFHS scoreless in the fifth working out of a bases loaded situation. In the sixth, she was not a fortunate and a bases loaded walk to Ashlyn Daisy produced the Lady Knights’ final tally. Neither team could cross the plate after that and the final result was West Florence 13, Darlington 5.
West managed their 13 runs on eight hits but were aided by 11 walks and three Darlington errors. Darlington collected six hits to go along with six walks. Eliason was the winning pitcher and Church took the loss for the Lady Falcons.
Eliason and DuBose each had two hits for the Lady Knights and Boykin’s homerun was the only extra base hit. McPhail had a double and single to pace Darlington.