Huggins’ arm and a two-run first inning propel the Falcons to victory
By Drake Horton
This past Friday was good night for the Darlington Falcons baseball team.
After getting off to rough start in the preseason and losing its opening game of the year in the regular season to the West Florence Knights, the Falcons responded well in front of their home crowd behind some outstanding pitching, defeating the Lamar Silver Foxes 3-0.
“That’s our strength, we are going to have guys that are going to pound the zone and we just have to play good defense behind them,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said after the win. “Tonight, I think we had one error, a ball out to right field that misplayed us, but other than that we played solid defense, made plays when we had too and my pitchers kept us in the game. They threw strikes.”
The Falcons were led by starting pitcher Bryant Huggins, who earned the win after throwing five shutout innings with eight strikeouts, including striking out the side in the fourth inning. Rylan Weatherford pitched the final two innings earning the save.
“It was the first home game and we knew we had to come out and get a win for everybody and the team,” Huggins said after the game. “I came out with the mindset that we were going to win and wasn’t anybody going to beat us tonight.”
And while the Falcons were particularly dominated on the mound, Lamar was no slouch itself. Rashard Coleman pitched a gem of a game himself, holding the Darlington bats mostly quite. Luke Amerson pitched the sixth inning for the Silver Foxes, striking out the side.
“We were happy with the way our pitchers performed,” Lamar head coach Adam Windham on the pitching performances of Coleman and Amerson. “There were a couple of errors; we got into a little bit of a hole.”
Darlington scored two runs in the opening frame with the help of two Silver Foxes errors in the inning and added one more run in the fourth. Two of the three runs scored by the Falcons were earned with Brycen Brown picking up a RBI in the first inning and Weatherford picking up the other in the fourth.
“There weren’t a lot of big hits just balls finding a way in,” Gearhart said on his team’s offense against Lamar. “We were very aggressive on the base paths tonight. I thought we had a chance on the obstruction play, I’m not sure how that should have been ruled, but we are going to be aggressive. We are going to have to generate runs for our pitching. We are going to win a lot of low scoring games, 3-2 games, 5-4 games. We have to manufacture runs somehow and I thought we did enough tonight, but we still have a long way to go.”
The one unearned run by the Falcons came in the first inning when Justin Mack scored on throwing error by Lamar’s second baseman on a double play attempt. He had reached base earlier in the inning on another throwing error, this one by the Silver Foxes third baseman.
The Falcons were able to muster out six hits over the course of the game, none for extra bases while Lamar finished five, including the lone extra-base hit of the game, a double by Daniel Galloway to lead off the top of the seventh inning.
“We were facing a really good pitcher and we just couldn’t string any hits together,” Windham said on the lack of scoring from his team. “We hit the ball hard a few times, but just couldn’t put anything together to score some runs. We’re not too disappointed if we get a couple of hits who knows what happens.”
Both teams head into the week gearing up for more competitive games as region play for both teams is set to begin.