The 2017 Danville Dans baseball squad broke two Prospect League team records this season – records that were previously held by the Dans.
The team swiped 163 bags in 2017. That was 27 more than their previous league record of 136 steals set in 2015. The Dans have led the Prospect League in stolen bases in each of coach Coleman’s four seasons at the Dans helm.
Tops for the team were Jim Govern (Eastern Illinois, shown at right) with 25 steals - good for second most in the Prospect League. It was the Dan’s all-time sixth highest stolen base mark. Also leading the team were Nick Webre (LSU) with 20 steals, and Itchy Burts (Texas A&M Corpus Christi) with 19 stolen bags. They were sixth and seventh in the league, respectively.
The other Prospect League record set by the Dans came on the mound. The pitching staff struck out a record 575 batters during the 2017 campaign – nearly one of every four batters faced. The Dans set the previous high mark for strikeouts last year at 492.
Ryan Gowens (Arizona, shown right) tossed 81 strikeouts – one short of tying the Dans all-time season record set by Rudy Garcia in 1981. Gowens was third in Prospect League strikeout totals this year. Other Dans pitchers in the top ten included Jonah Ulane (Kansas), who was fifth with 75 strikeouts; and Zach Eschberger (Henderson State) tossed 56 strikeouts, good for ninth in the Prospect League.
While not setting a record, the Dans led the Prospect League with a .287 batting average. It is the team’s second highest average, trailing the .293 set in 1997. Govern and Michael Rothmund (Illinois-Springfield) led the team, each with a .335 average. They ranked fifth in the Prospect League.
Dans hitters also set a modern-era team record with 40 home runs this season, topping the previous high of 29 dingers in 2012. Rothmund (at right) tied the all-time season high with 11 home runs, and finished fourth in the Prospect League. Webre added nine homers, tied for sixth in the league.
Congrats to the Dans for their outstanding season.
Dans See Playoff Hopes Fade Away
Danville Dans saw their chance to make the Prospect League playoffs fall out of reach with the combination of a 8-2 loss to the Quincy Gems and Terre Haute winning one of their two games against Springfield on Friday, August 4.
Even if the Rex lost and the Dans won their final games, they would have had identical 32-28 records. Terre Haute held the tie-breaker, winning the season series 9-6 over the Dans.
The Dans finished the 2017 campaign in Springfield with a 10-9 walk-off loss. They ended the season with a 31-29 record, 5 games out of first and 1 game back of second.
Seven Dans Participate in All-Star Showcase
Those attending were (l to r): RHP Jonah Ulane (Kansas); LHP Chase Nix (Arkansas St); LHP Zach Eschberger (Henderson State); 1B Michael Rothmund (UI-Springfield); Jim Govern (Eastern IL); Welles Cooley (McNeese State) and Nick Webre (LSU).
The Danville Dans were well represented at the Prospect League All-Star Showcase. The players joined others from Quincy, Terre Haute, Springfield, Lafayette and Kokomo for workouts in front of scouts.
Michael Rothmund finished second in the Home Run Derby.
Congrats to our Dans All-Stars!
For the second week in a row, a Danville Dans player has received recognition from the Prospect League. This week is was Michael Rothmund, who was named the Player of the Week. Rothmund, a senior-to-be at University of Illinois-Springfield, hit .464 (13-for-28) over eight games during the week. The six-foot-six, 240-pound infielder hit three doubles, a triple, one home run and drove in 13.
On the season, Rothmund – who is from Lombard, IL – is hitting .331 and ranked third in the Prospect League in home runs (10), second in RBIs (42), third in runs scored (38), second in total bases (89), third in extra-base hits (21) and third in slugging percentage (.640).
Ryan Gowens was cruising through the Springfield Sliders lineup last Saturday night. Through 5.2 innings he had faced the minimum number of batters, striking out 13 batters of the 17 to that point – including fanning the side in both the first and fourth innings. Then Westville native and Danville Area Community College product Mark Strebin got an infield single on a slow roller down the third base line. That hit, and a walk in the 7th inning, were the only blemishes on a near-perfect game for the University of Arizona senior-to-be right-hander.
His efforts were recognize with the Prospect League naming Gowens the Pitcher of the Week this week. He added another strike out in the 7th for a total of 14 Ks – the most by a Dans pitcher since Nick Rumbelow (LSU) threw that many against Hannibal in June, 2011. His teammates backed up the pitching gem with a 9-0 offensive output to take the second game of a doubleheader and sweep the Springfield Sliders.
On the season, Gowens is 1-2 in six starts. He’s thrown a total of 27.2 innings, with 43 strikeouts, good for eighth in the Prospect League (but third on the Dans staff), and has given up 18 walks.
He is the second Dans pitcher to be honored by the Prospect League. Zach Eschberger (Henderson State) was named the top pitcher for Week 3 of this season.
Eschberger Named Pitcher of the Week
Zach Eschberger, a sophomore from Henderson State University, has been named the Prospect League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending June 18.
The Tyler, TX native threw a complete game shutout in the Dans 7-0 win over the Quincy Gems on June 13. The left-hander only gave up four hits while throwing 107 pitches – 80 of which were strikes. That led to nine strikeouts and no walks. It was the first complete game for the Dans since June, 2014.
On the season, Eschberger is 1-1 in three starts, and four total appearances. He’s thrown a total of 18.2 innings, allowing eight earned runs for a 3.85 ERA, and has allowed 17 hits. He leads the Dans starters with 20 strikeouts and just six walks.
Zach Eschberger on the mound during his 7-0 complete game on June 13.
Photo courtesy of Deb Edwards / Commercial-News
Six Dans Get Drafted in 2017
Congrats to six former Dans that were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft:
Ricky Karcher (Walters State CC), 2016 Dans RHP, taken in the 13th Round by the Cincinnati Reds.
Troy Conyers (Univ of San Diego), 2013 Dans LHP, selected in the 23rd Round by the Atlanta Braves.
Justin Bridgman (Nevada), 2015 Dans Infielder, a 28th Round pick by the Tampa Bay Rays.
Jeremy McKinney (Indiana St), a 2015 Dans RHP, taken in the 31st Round by the Washington Nationals.
Mac Lozer (Michigan), a 2014 Dans RHP, a 33rd Round pick by the New York Mets.
Michael McCormick (Eastern Illinois), a 2015 Dans RHP, selected in the 34th Round by the Chicago White Sox.
This brings the total number of Dans that have been drafted or signed a professional contract to almost 180 players in our 30 year history.
Dans Manger Gets Milestone Win
Danville Dans manager Eric Coleman recorded his 100th regular season victory with the Dans in an 11-8 victory over the Lafayette Aviators Saturday night.
This is Coleman’s fourth season with the Dans. His teams won 31 games in each of his first two years, and won a team second-best 35 wins last season. The victory over the Aviators Saturday was his team’s third win this year. Coleman also has a playoff victory with the Dans in 2014 against Quincy.
In each of his first three years, the Dans have had quality pitching. The 2016 squad was second in the league with a 3.25 ERA, the 2015 staff was third at 2.74 ERA, and the Dans team ERA was 3.25 in 2014, fourth in the league.
Speed has also been a hallmark of the Coleman teams. The Dans have led the Prospect League in stolen bases in each of this three years – 127 in 2016, 136 in 2015 and 119 in 2014.
This is Coleman’s 16th year coaching in summer league baseball. He was named the 2011 Manager of the Year with the Cooperstown Hawkeyes in the Perfect Game Collegiate League.Congrats Coach Coleman! Here's to 100 more.