As the Webb City Cardinals (22-13) baseball team gets set for its Final Four game on Friday afternoon, cousins Cy and Kaylor Darnell will see their high school careers conclude this weekend.
Regardless of how things play out in their semifinal round showdown against St. Francis Borgia (24-5), the dazzling Darnell duo knows they have just two games left at the prep level before going on to play collegiately at Missouri Southern State University.
If Webb City comes away victorious in the semifinals, it will play for a state championship on Saturday afternoon. A loss to St. Francis Borgia, however, will leave Andrew Doennig’s squad trying to bounce back successfully in the third-place game.
Either way, it might be a perfect time for reflection and reminiscing by the cousins, who have both benefited greatly from fathers with tremendous experience as baseball head coaches that has helped guide these rising diamond stars through their sparkling successes thus far.
“Well, it has been helpful because not many kids get to have a college coach as your dad,” assures Cy Darnell, who just happens to be the son of current MSSU baseball head coach Bryce Darnell. “He has helped me become a better player and person through all of it.”
A lot like Cy Darnell, it’s easy to see that Kaylor Darnell developed a tremendous determination and drive to excel at the game he loves so much from his father as well.
“My dad is a big part of me, and baseball and I love him for that,” insists Kaylor Darnell, who is the son of former Webb City skipper Flave Darnell. “It’s always fun going to play catch with him and hitting in the cage with him.”
Not surprisingly, both Cy and Kaylor have been immersed into this ‘summertime pastime’ sport that is truly a family affair in their homes since they could walk, or so it seems.
“I have played ever since I was about seven years old,” Cy Darnell recollected. “I have always had the passion for it because of how different it is from other sports.”
Kaylor Darnell recalled that, “I have played baseball since I can remember, and my dad introduced it to me.”
As these young men have worked diligently to eliminate any flaws in their performances over the years, they assessed their own play and Cy Darnell, who shines at shortstop for the Cardinals, suggested that “I think the best part of my game is my glove on defense.
“But the most improved part of my game overall is being a good teammate through the rough times along the way.”
Cy Darnell is Webb City’s leading hitter (.331 BA, 41 hits).
There’s no doubt that Kaylor Darnell has proven masterful on the mound time and time again for Webb City and he maintains that “I have been most improved with my pitching. It’s something I have always enjoyed, and I’m blessed enough to be able to keep doing it.”
Kaylor owns a 9-2 record with a 1.34 ERA on the mound ahead of the semifinals.
While Cy and Kaylor obviously keep laser-focused at doing their own thing individually as well as they possibly can on the baseball diamond, there’s an appreciation for each other’s skillsets athletically, along with loyalty to one another as relatives.
“It has been so cool to play with my cousin throughout my high school career, through junior varsity and varsity,” Cy Darnell says. “It’s just been awesome to play with him on the infield when he is not pitching.”
“My relationship with Cy has been good,” Kaylor says. “He’s like a brother. We’ve had our differences, but that doesn’t make me love him any less. He’s a great guy and he’s fun to be around. I enjoy playing baseball with him.
“Cy is a great player and knowing that I have a great fielder behind me makes it that much easier to pitch.”
Cy and Kaylor have obviously spent a lot of time together the past several years while starring for Coach Doennig’s Cardinals. And they’ll continue to team up as they strive for success at MSSU.
Most importantly of all, perhaps, their loyalties will remain firm as a pair of family members who have each other’s backs on and off the field, wherever their paths go from here.
Cy Darnell Fast Facts
Parents: Bryce & Pamela Darnell
Siblings: Sister, Darcy Darnell, junior at Missouri Southern State University
Favorite Subject in School: History
Planned College Major: Education
Favorite Baseball Movie: Sandlot
Favorite Major League Baseball Player: Francisco Lindor
Kaylor Darnell Fast Facts
Parents: Flave & Casey Darnell
Favorite Subject in School: Math
Planned College Major: Industrial Engineering
Favorite Baseball Movie: Bench Warmers
Favorite Major League Baseball Player: Mike Trout