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With seed planted, Darlington will head to WVU

November 10, 2006|by DAN KAUFFMAN

As a freshman playing American Legion baseball in 2004, Musselman outfielder Mark Darlington got to watch one of the best Tri-State area prep pitchers of recent years - Hedgesville's Matt Yurish - ply his trade before getting the call to play at West Virginia University.

It planted the seeds for Darlington - a 2006 Herald-Mail All-Area First-Team selection as a junior - who on Wednesday signed a scholarship to follow in Yurish's footsteps and play for the Mountaineers beginning in 2008.

"I played Legion ball with Matt, who's up there right now," Darlington said on Monday. "I know kids on the team, and I really love the atmosphere. I think that was the best fit for me."

Darlington has been one of the area's top hitters since his sophomore season, when he rocked opposing pitchers for a .448 average, seven doubles, six homers and 30 RBI. Pitched around a lot more last season, Darlington still managed to hit .486 with seven doubles, three homers and 24 RBI.

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With the challenge of choosing a college behind him, Darlington is looking forward to his senior season with the Applemen.

"It does take a little stress off," he said. "All I'm worried about is just winning."

Darlington said he will likely play one of the corner outfield spots at WVU. As to how soon he'll see playing time, that's still up in the air.

"I'm just going to go up there and work at it," Darlington said. "The decision is up to the coach, I'm there to win, that's all that matters to me."

In addition to his baseball scholarship, Darlington has also received a West Virginia PROMISE academic scholarship. He plans to do general studies for a year before choosing a major.

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