Hartsville shuts out Darlington in softball
By Don Gearhart
Although Darlington has dropped down from Region 6 4A to the 3A level, anytime the rivalry between Darlington and Hartsville occurs it is ripe with enthusiasm for bragging rights. It didn’t start well for the Lady Falcons as only a throwing error on a grounder by Isabell Rivas gave Darlington it’s first baserunner in the third inning.
Hartsville appeared to get their offense going in the bottom of the first. After Myah Harvey led off with a walk, EmmaKate Hudson sacrificed her to second. Harvey, though, saw the third base bag unoccupied and attempted to go all the way to third on the sacrifice bunt. Heads up play by the Lady Falcons thwarted that attempt with a perfect throw from first-to-third to retire a sliding Harvey. With two outs and nobody aboard, Avarie Easters was hit by a pitch and Aliyah Smith walked. Caydon Thompson wasted little time in making the free passes pay for Darlington. She hit a towering homerun to left field to give the Lady Red Foxes a 3-0 lead.
The bottom of the second proved to be the back-breaker for Darlington. Carter Shumate led off the Lady Red Fox second inning with a solid base hit. Jamarria Pendergrass hit a sacrifice bunt to move Shumate to second. Jaysha McCullough’s grounder found a hole between first and second to score Shumate. Harvey doubled in the gap to drive in McCullough. Hudson’s ground ball resorted in an error putting two runners aboard. Easter’s base hit plated Harvey and a walk to Smith loaded the bases again. Thompson got an RBI the hard way by getting hit by a pitch. Abbey Byrd then cleared the bases with a three-run double. With ten players batting in the inning, the seven runs gave Hartsville a 10-0 lead after two innings.
Both teams went down quietly in the third inning. Darlington broke up the no-hitter in the fourth when Emily Johnson drilled a ground ball down the first base line. This proved to be the Lady Falcons second and final baserunner in the game. In the Hartsville fourth, Sydnie Matthews led off with a walk. Easters was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Batting for Smith, Trinity Davis singled to load the bases and bring Thompson to the plate. The senior slugger didn’t disappoint by doubling in the gap to plate all three runners. Allie Bailey drove Thompson home for the fourth run of the inning and giving Hartsville a 14-0 advantage.
Darlington’s last chance to avoid the 10-run rule didn’t come to fruition as two ground ball outs and a strikeout ended the game.
Bailey Blackmon was the losing pitcher for Darlington. Trinity Davis picked up the win. Davis was a strike machine throwing strikes on 73% of her pitches. She only gave up one hit while walking none and striking out seven.
Thompson was the big gun for Hartsville with a home run, double, and seven RBI. Harvey collected two hits, one a double, and Byrd hit a double.