Darton softball coach David Dews
ALBANY — David Dews said he saw it coming.
But when the nationally-ranked No. 10 Darton State College softball team was knocked off in its season opener Saturday, his players were blindsided.
“Yeah, they were stunned,” Dews said after the Lady Cavs lost to Central Alabama Community College, 7-5, in their own tournament at Sherwood’s Legacy Park. “I kind of saw it coming. A lot of times when you put on a tournament, it’s hard to get focused on what you need to do. The girls had to work at the tournament (Friday), and I didn’t do a very good job coaching either. There are some things I wish we would have done differently. We were just kind of tired and didn’t really have it together.”
The Lady Cavs turned around and crushed Wallace Community College, 10-3, but the season-opening loss is sure to turn some heads around the NJCAA.
Darton’s pitching staff, which didn’t give up more than six runs in a contest last season until game No. 25, didn’t have an answer for Central Alabama’s hitters. Lady Cavs starter Jostlyn Higgerson, who picked up the loss, surrendered a home run in the fourth inning that gave Central Alabama a 4-3 lead, which the Lady Trojans held on to for the final three innings.
“We hadn’t played in a couple of months, so sometimes it just takes a little time to get going,” Dews said. “We didn’t play as well as we needed to play. We made some mistakes, but it’s early and they understand that.”
Complete stats from either of Saturday’s game weren’t available by press time, but sophomore Chelsea Showers led Darton at the plate in the opener with four hits and a pair of stolen bases.
The Lady Cavs bounced back against Wallace with their bats, scoring six runs in the fifth inning to pull away from the Lady Governors. Bree Wells and Kelsea Ogletree led the way with a pair of home runs, while Showers added two hits and three stolen bases.
Savannah Carlisle pitched five innings and got the win, and Division I transfer Heather Sexton threw the final two innings in relief.
Despite the win, Dews said his team still looked rusty.
“We still made too many mistakes in that second game,” Dews said. “We just didn’t play very well for the day. I have seen us play a lot better, and we are going to have to find some rhythm and play better the next time out.”
Darton’s win came against a Wallace program that was started and built into a national powerhouse by Dews’ father, Gene Dews, who retired from his head coaching job at Wallace after 40 seasons two years ago but recently became an assistant coach at Darton.
“Dad was pretty excited to play them,” said David, who started his coaching career as an assistant at Wallace over a decade ago. “We enjoyed seeing some old friends, and the current Wallace coach (Eddie Munn) was one of Dad’s assistants.”
Darton, which will play Wallace again Feb. 19 in Dothan, Ala., is in action again Wednesday at home in a doubleheader against Andrew College.
GSW baseball opens season with loss Friday to Barry (Fla.), suffers second defeat in 14 innings Saturday
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. — Barry University’s Adrian English hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th inning to lift the Buccaneers to a thrilling 7-6 victory Saturday against Georgia Southwestern.
The visiting Hurricanes jumped out to a 6-4 lead with two runs in the top of the ninth, but Barry plated a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game in extra innings, where it remained tied until English’s RBI single scored Louis Arrizurieta to end the second-longest game in Barry history.
Blane Parker led GSW (0-2) at the plate, going 4-for-6 with an RBI and a run, while reliever Bray Bishop picked up the loss.
Former Lee County star Matthew Suggs started the game on the mound for the Hurricanes and pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out three.
GSW finished the three-game series with Barry at noon today.
GSW LOSES OPENER LATE FRIDAY: The GSW baseball team started its 2013 season about as well as you ask, scoring four runs in the first inning of Friday’s opening day matchup with Barry University. Unfortunately, the hosts rallied for five runs over the seventh and eighth innings to hand the Hurricanes a 10-5 defeat.
Corey Benson and Josh Sanders finished with two hits apiece to lead the GSW offense. The Hurricanes stranded 10 runners.
GSW starter Frank Ambrosino tossed five innings and allowed five runs on six hits but did not factor in the decision. Chase Burnfin (0-1) took the loss after surrendering three runs in an inning of relief.
Bench leads GSW men to second straight win: Alan Arnett and Daryl Davis came off the bench and combined for 52 points Saturday to lead Georgia Southwestern to a 94-82 win at Peach Belt Conference rival Young Harris.
Arnett scored 19 of his game-high 29 points in the second half, when the Hurricanes outscored Young Harris, 56-39, to overcome a five-point halftime deficit and win their second game in a row.
GSW (9-11, 5-8), which had lost nine of 10 before its current two-game winning streak, knocked Young Harris (14-5, 9-3) out of first place in the PBC West Division standings with the win.
Davis was 10-for-14 from the field and added 23 points, while GSW starting guard Jamon Hawkins added 12 points.
The Hurricanes are now just one game behind Clayton State for the No. 4 seed in the West Division and play again Thursday at home against Columbus State.
GSW WOMEN’S HOOPS FALLS: The Lady Hurricanes couldn’t overcome a hot shooting Young Harris squad Saturday as the Blue & Gold dropped a 67-50 contest to the Mountain Lions.
Freshman forward Jasmine McSwain paced GSW (3-17, 1-12 PBC) with 15 points, five rebounds and four steals.
GSW returns to the court Thursday at home against Columbus State.