The Falcons are their own worst enemy against Hartsville

Drake Adams sets his sights on a ball during his turn at the plate in a match-up against Hartsville.
Photo by Drake Horton

By Drake Horton, Contributing Writer

It was a night of self-destruction for the Darlington Falcons.

Eight walks and four hit batters to go along with five errors created a hole too big for the Falcons to overcome, resulting in a 10-5 loss to the Hartsville Red Foxes at home Tuesday, April 11.

The game looked like it was going to end in six innings as the Red Foxes extended their lead to 10-0, but a three-run bottom half of the sixth kept the Falcons alive and a two-run bottom of seventh made it interesting before Hartsville finished the game off.

“We gave them some runs early, didn’t play our best baseball to start the game, but I thought our guys responded well later in the game,” Darlington head coach Dennis Gearhart said. “Hartsville is a good baseball team, when you give them extra outs and free passes they take advantage of it and we waited around a little too long to start fighting back.”

Darlington’s miscues started early in the second inning.

With two outs and runners on second and third, it looked like the Falcons were about to get out of the jam with a groundout to second, but a bobble by Darlington’s Jaret Bryant allowed to ball to trickle out into right field and let two runs score.

Down by two, things only got worse for the Falcons in the fourth inning.

After loading the bases and having just one out, Darlington looked like it was about to get out the inning unscathed as Hartsville’s Caleb Peach hit what looked like an inning ending double play, but an errant throw by shortstop Quez Mullins allowed another two runs to score.

The bleeding did not stop there, however, as Darlington committed another error against the next batter, letting one more run, increasing the lead to 5-0.

That was not the end of the scoring in the inning, either. The next two batters both had RBIs, with the first coming on a fielder’s choice and the other coming off of a single, ending starting pitcher Drake Adam’s night.

Hartsville scored the last run of the inning on an infield single off of relief pitcher Gage Weatherford giving the Red Foxes an 8-0 lead through just three and half innings.

The Red Foxes pushed that lead to 10 in the top of the sixth after back-to-back bases loaded walks and the game was in jeopardy of being called due to the “run” rule, but in the bottom half of the sixth inning the Falcons finally started making some plays and catching some breaks.

Darlington’s Eric McElveen led the inning off with a walk, Bryant followed with a single and Jake Jones sacrificed both runners over, putting them in scoring position with just one out. Those three plays got the wheels rolling offensively.

“The game was rolling along nice and smooth for five innings and then the wheels kind of come off and went all different directions and it ended up being a 10-5 ballgame,” Hartsville head coach Tony Gainey said. “Darlington puts the ball in play, Darlington hits the ball hard and you compound that with a walk and a couple of errors and we let them right back in the game when we had it wrapped up.”

Keshawn Taylor capitalized on Jones’ sacrifice with a RBI single up the middle giving the Falcons their first run of the game. It did not stop there, however. It was actually just the beginning.

Following Taylor’s RBI Hartsville committed back-to-back errors, a missed tag on a runner headed to third and a wild throw, allowing two more runs to score closing the gap to 10-3.

Darlington scored two more runs in the seventh with pinch runner Chase Weatherford scoring on a wild pitch and Bryant driving in a run on a double to left field.
The loss, while disappointing, doesn’t effect Darlington for the playoffs, as its spot was already set before the game.

Author: Duane Childers

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