All year long, Darlington’s defense has been solid. On Wednesday, the defense faltered a bit but the offense picked up the slack as the Tigers split a playoff double header at Pace Academy, 12-14, 9-6.
In the opening game of the Class A playoff series, the Tigers jumped to a lead and carried it into the fifth inning.
In the fifth, the Knights’ bats came alive and errors proved costly as Pace plated 10 runs, taking a 14-8 lead.
The Tigers rallied late in the game cutting the lead to 14-12 and loading the bases in the seventh inning. Unfortunately, Darlington couldn’t score any more runs.
“We know that defense has been a strength for us all season,” Darlington coach Kent Harrison said. “I’m not making any excuses, but this was our first road playoff game. We realized what was on the line and might have pressed a little too hard. Luckily for us, our offense showed up.”
In the second game, Pace jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but Darlington’s offense got going in the second inning.
The Tigers scored eight runs in the second and added one more in the fourth, taking the win and forcing a third and decisive game today.
Offensively for the Tigers in the second game, Kayla Riley had two hits and three RBIs, Arden Babb had a hit and an RBI, Emily Thurmond had a double and an RBI and Keara Evans had a hit and an RBI.
“I thought we swung our bats really well, today,” Harrison said. “I’m afraid we may have left our gloves at home, though.”
In the first game, several Tigers hit well. Riley had a double a triple and three RBIs, Babb had a double and two RBIs, Thurmond had three hits and three RBIs and Morgan Sidwell had two hits and two RBIs.
Swofford picked up the win in the circle for game two.
“A coach is always excited to see his kids compete and have fun,” Harrison said. “We were obviously disappointed in the way the defense played, but we know we can play better tomorrow.”
The third game is today at Pace at 5 p.m. The winner of the game advances to the Class A Private School State Championships next week in Columbus.