Darlington’s shaky seventh too much to overcome against Hartsville
By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer
The seventh inning was not kind to Darlington Post 13 back on Tuesday, June 14. To be quite honest, it was heartbreaking.
Going into the top of seventh against Hartsville Post 53 at home, up 2-0, Darlington was just three outs away from winning its fourth straight game and taking control of its destiny with it coming to winning the conference.
It turned out those three outs were hardest of the entire game to come across, especially the last one as Hartsville came back to win 4-2.
“Compliments to Hartsville, they did what they were supposed to do,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said after the game. “We have to learn the mentality to finish and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Hartsville’s first two batters reached in the top half of the seventh inning, with the first being hit by a pitch and the other drawing a walk to give Post 53 two runners on with no outs.
After a pass ball advanced both runners, Darlington pitcher Rylan Weatherford got the first out with a fly out to center field, but the bleeding had not stopped yet. Hartsville’s next batter hit a RBI infield single, cutting Darlington’s two run lead to just one, with the tying run just 90 feet away.
All was not lost after that play, however, as Weatherford got his second fly out of the inning on the next batter, pinning Hartsville with just one out left. It was that one out that was too much at the moment.
Post 53’s next batter blasted a bases clearing, two RBI double off of the left-center field wall giving Hartsville a 3-2 lead.
“We got two outs and the three hitter comes up and does what the three hitter is supposed to do, drives in runs,” Gearhart said, discussing what turned out to be the game-winning hit of the game.
Hartsville added an insurance run following the game changing double as Post 53’s next hitter poked a RBI single to right field pushing the lead to 4-2.
With a dejected crowd Post 13 did not hang their heads after losing the lead. In the bottom of the seventh, needing to score two runs to tie or three to win, Darlington did everything it could to challenge Hartsville.
With runners on second and third with just one out, Darlington positioned itself well in a bid to come back after such a deflating top half of the seventh inning.
That was as far as the runners got, however, as Hartsville got both Ja’Lin Mullins and Matthew DeMaurice to fly out and end the game.
“We had a chance in the bottom half,” Gearhart said on Darlington’s comeback attempt. “We had guys on second and third with one out and we just didn’t get that key hit in that key spot.”
This game originally started back on June 2, before it was suspended in the top of the second inning due to rain. Before the rain came Darlington had jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with Eric McElveen.
Post 13’s other run came in the bottom of the third inning when Darlington strung together three straight singles ending with Quay Gandy’s RBI single to right field.
Darlington won its two other games of the week, defeating Cheraw 13-2 on Monday June 13 and South Florence Gold 12-2 this past Friday.
Post 13’s overall record is now 4-3 overall, 2-2 in the conference.