- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Daryl Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, went from needing a job to trying to keep his job to being the man for the job.
Thompson, who pitched in the majors for the Cincinnati Reds from 2008 to 2011, had a dominating performance on the mound on Sept. 21 for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.
Thompson overwhelmed the Atlantic League’s most prolific offense with seven shutout innings of two-hit mastery to headline a 7-2 victory over visiting Lancaster that enabled his hometown Blue Crabs to clinch the Liberty Division second-half title and the league’s final playoff berth two games before the regular season ended two days after.
The Blue Crabs (69-71 overall, 39-31 second half) went from worst to first in the division from the first half to second half and it marked the fourth straight postseason for the fifth-year franchise.
The Blue Crabs were knocked out of the postseason in the Liberty Division Championship Series for the third straight year in a heartbreaking 5-4 shortcoming of an all-deciding Game 5 at Long Island on Sept. 30.
“I just know I wanted to go out there and pitch to the best of my ability and give the team the best chance I could for us to win,” Thompson said amid a festive Blue Crabs clubhouse after the clinching win. “I felt pretty good. I felt my fastball was pretty live. Even in the seventh inning, I still felt strong.”
The 26-year-old Hughesville product, who signed with Blue Crabs the final day of July after being released in early June by the Minnesota Twins organization, struck out seven and walked none.
“I feel like I’m back to the old Daryl Thompson,” the La Plata graduate said. “I’ve always wanted to be that guy to be able to pitch in the big games like this. I’ve been doing this since [being in Hughesville Little League] so I know what is at stake. I’m glad I was able to contribute to the team and be where we are right now.”
Thompson tabbed the league’s Pitcher of the Month for September after saving his best stuff for his hometown Blue Crabs during the most critical time of the season, playing a major role in the franchise securing its fourth straight postseason berth while coming close to advancing to the Atlantic League Championship Series.