One bad inning spoils Darlington’s opening day at the SBC

Darlington’s Justin Mack, just as his bat strikes the baseball at the Southeastern Baseball Classic at Jimmy White Park on Tuesday, March 31. Photo by Drake Horton

Darlington’s Justin Mack, just as his bat strikes the baseball at the Southeastern Baseball Classic at Jimmy White Park on Tuesday, March 31.
Photo by Drake Horton

By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer

Darlington’s first ever game in the Southeastern Baseball Classic did not go as planned as the Falcons fell to the Archbishop Spaulding Cavaliers out of Maryland by a score of 9-1 on Tuesday, March 31 in Kelleytown at Jimmy White Park.

The lopsided score was not a true description of how close the game really was, however. Outside of the Cavaliers seven-run, second inning, Darlington went stride for stride with Archbishop Spaulding for the entire game.

“It was a pretty good game,” Darlington baseball head coach Billy Sylvester said after the game. “One inning got us; we got to get better and we got to play a whole game and not just six innings. If we do that we play with that team all day.”

In fact, it was the Falcons that struck first in the top of the first inning when Darlington’s Luke Bonnoitt hit a RBI single to right field. The lead was short lived, however, as the Cavaliers scored a run of their own, tying the game back up at one.

“We came out and had a decent first inning, got a run and then they (Archbishop Spaulding) came back and tied it up,” Sylvester said on the Falcons good start to the game.
From there Archbishop Spaulding neutralized Darling-ton’s offense, holding the Falcons scoreless for the next six innings.

That bottom half of the second inning was just too much for the Falcons to overcome. Archbishop Spaulding knocked Falcons starting pitcher Austin White out of the game, after giving up two runs in the inning, leaving the bases loaded for reliever Dustin Knotts.

Knotts’ fortunes in the second inning were no better, as the Cavaliers were able to hit two identical two-RBI doubles down the left field line to go along with a RBI single before finally getting out of the inning.

Archbishop Spaulding added one more run in the bottom of the third, scoring on a wild pitch with two outs, but besides that the Falcons held the Cavaliers in check, not allowing any more runs over the final three innings.

“Dustin threw well,” Sylvester said on Knotts’ performance following the second inning. “To come in and battle through that second inning and then after that he threw the ball great, he mixed it up, went ahead and got some outs for us.”

Following the loss, which was the Falcons third straight, Sylvester tipped his cap to the Cavaliers pitching staff, crediting them to fine pitching performance as Archbishop Spaulding out hit Darlington eight to four.

“That was a pretty good pitcher we saw today,” Sylvester said, complimenting the quality of pitching by the Cavaliers. “When he (umpire) is giving them both sides of the plate, we got to make adjustments. I thought we put the ball in play. They’re a good team; they made the plays when we didn’t.”

Darlington ended up finishing in fifth place at the SBC, winning its final two games of the tournament after dropping its first two.
After the day two loss to the Gaffney Indians by a score of 7-2 put the Falcons down.

0-2 in the SBC, Darlington rattled off two straight victories in its inaugural appearance, salvaging what could have possibly been a bad experience over the spring break holiday.
In the Falcons’ first victory, Darlington played one of its most complete games, defeating Glenn High School out of North Carolina 8-1 on Thursday.

With that win, Darlington road the momentum on the championship day on Friday, beating Olmsted Falls of Ohio in a close 4-3 battle to claim fifth place.

Now Darlington gears itself back up for the regular season and region play as the Falcons look to rebound and not only make the playoffs, but capture the region championship.

Author: Duane Childers

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