2-0 in conference: Dardenne, Wildcats outslug Trojans


Coming off throwing a complete-game shutout, Josh Dardenne did some more work at the plate Thursday.

The junior went 3 for 3 with a walk as Watson Chapel’s leadoff man, and the Wildcats improved to 2-0 in the 5A-South Conference with an 11-0, five-inning home victory over Hot Springs. Watson Chapel coach Chad Cope said Dardenne is hitting almost .500 on the young season.

“He’s doing a good job of handling what he can handle, understanding plate discipline,” Cope said.

Dardenne had one extra-base hit, a double in the first inning. He scored twice and batted in another run.

“It’s all hard work in the offseason, listening to my coach and doing what he says,” Dardenne says.

Justin Pierce helped deliver another shutout for the Wildcats (4-3, 2-0 in 5A-South). He allowed one hit and struck out three in the first four innings to pick up the victory. Dalton Barker threw a hitless fifth inning.

Pierce is one of four sophomores starting for the Wildcats, last season’s 5A-Southeast champion and state runner-up.

“They’re growing up,” Cope said. “We told them this time of season, youth is not an excuse anymore. You’ve just got to grow up and play. And (Pierce) is.”

Pierce retired the Trojans (2-6, 0-2) in order in the first two innings. James Morrow singled off him to lead off the third inning, but Pierce sat down the next three to end the inning.

Watson Chapel led 5-0 in the second thanks to sacrifice flyouts by Cameron Banks and Keiron Savage, Dardenne’s run on an error and back-to-back singles by Jacob Owens and Jordan Stargell. In the third, Jaylon Jackson lined a two-run double, Dardenne scored on a passed ball and Owen singled in another run to make it 9-0.

Landen Colson hit a sac fly and Dardenne singled in the fourth for the last two runs.

Owen and Stargell each had two hits. Watson Chapel totaled nine hits and committed two errors, leaving eight on base.

The Trojans committed three errors.

Watson Chapel will play in a tournament at Magnolia next weekend, with home conference games against Camden Fairview, White Hall and Magnolia to follow.

“We’ll find out real quickly where we stand,” Cope said.