Danville Dans News

Baseball Legend To Be on Dans Coaching Staff in 2022

The Danville Dans are excited to announce that renowned baseball coach Ron Polk will be part of their coaching staff for the 2022 season.

Polk has 52 years of experience coaching NCAA-D1 teams and has compiled one of the most successful winning records. His resume includes 1,373 wins, eight trips to the College World Series, six Hall of Fames inductions, and seven tours as a USA Baseball coach.

(Photo from Commercial-News: Mississippi State interim president Vance Watson, right, stands with baseball head coach Ron Polk during the pregame presentation which concluded Polk’s 29th baseball season on May 17, 2008.)

Coach Polk has coached at Georgia Southern University and University of Arizona but is most famous for his 29 years as head coach of the Mississippi State baseball team.  He has also coached summer baseball in the Cape Cod League for the last eight years.

With a total of 31 seasons as a head coach in the SEC, Polk is often referred to as the “Father of Southeastern Conference Baseball.”

Polk’s unmatched expertise will benefit the college athletes from across the country who come to Danville, IL to develop their baseball skills during the upcoming Prospect League season.

“Anytime you get to work with a baseball legend like Coach Polk, it’s an honor,” said Dans manager, Eric Coleman. “His knowledge of the game is second to none. We couldn’t be more excited for our players and coaches to learn from him this summer.”

Polk’s coaching technics get results. Nearly 200 of the players he has coached have signed professional baseball contracts, with 29 of those athletes played in Major League Baseball. Eight of those major leaguers were first round draft picks. This success is why his textbook, The Baseball Playbook, is the chosen teaching tool at 450 colleges and has sold more than 125,000 copies.

Polk has been a longtime friend of the Dans. About 33 years ago, he first sent one of his staff to coach in Danville. He even traveled to Danville to be a guest speaker at a local sports banquet.

“Our coaching staff and players will learn a lot from him.” said Rick Kurth, Danville Dans co-owner. “I believe his time here will lead to some pretty exciting games, too. After all, we’re all about player development and a fun time at the ballpark. It’s a genuine honor to have Ron Polk join the Danville Dans.”

Posted 2 weeks ago

Another Dan Becomes a Major Leaguer

For the second time in a week, a Danville Dan has made his MLB debut.

Relief pitcher Bryan Baker tossed a scoreless 8th inning September 5 for the Toronto Blue Jays in their win against the Oakland A’s. The 2014 Dan struck out one and allowed one hit during his inning.

Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 11th Round in 2016 as a junior out of North Florida. He was traded to the Blue Jays in 2018. At Triple-A, Baker was in 33 games with a 4-1 record and nine saves. He has struck out 40 while walking 16 with a 1.32 ERA.

Baker becomes the 31st Danville Dan to put on a major league uniform.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Rivas Becomes 30th Dan To Make It To The Majors

On Sunday, August 29, Alfonso Rivas - a 2016 Dan - went 2-3 as the starting 1st baseman for the Chicago Cubs. He hit a single on the first pitch he saw in the 3rd, and added a double in the 5th. He becomes the 30th Danville Dan to appear in a MLB game. The Arizona Wildcat was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 10th round of the 2018 draft, and was traded to the Cubs in January 2020. This summer at Triple-A Iowa, he hit .284 in 58 games.

Posted 2 weeks ago

DansShare Program Gives Back to Community

The DansShare program helps support area nonprofits, school and sports teams by having their group work in the concession stand or sell the 50-50 tickets. The concession groups receive a donation for their work, as well as accepting tips from hungry fans. Fans also purchase 50-50 tickets from other groups selling the chances during the games, with the selling group receiving a portion of the proceeds.

This year through DansShare, nearly $9,750 was given to these area nonprofits and sports teams during the 2021 season – a year that saw four home rainouts, or the total would have been higher.

Other community efforts this past season included hosting the ImpactLife Bloodmobile along with a COVID-19 vaccination drive in cooperation with the Vermilion County Health Department and the National Guard. The Dans also worked with our presenting sponsor, OSF Healthcare, to raise funds during their All Cancer Awareness Night on the last game of the season.

So just as Dans fans enjoy coming to the ballpark every summer, the Dans enjoy giving back to our community.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Dans fall to Aviators again

The Danville Dans tried to regain first place in the Wabash River Division on Friday against the Lafayette Aviators.

But the Dans could not keep up as they lost 10-6 to the Aviators at Loeb Stadium.

Ben Higgins had two hits with a home run and two RBIs for Danville, while Keenan Taylor had two hits and a RBI, Johnathon Thomas and Tony Castonguay each had one RBI and Jason Ali had two hits.

Jackson Nichols took the loss for the Dans, getting four strikeouts and giving up seven runs on eight hits in four innings. Nick Constantine had three strikeouts in four innings of relief.

The Dans have lost three in a row and will try to break that streak on Saturday against the Aviators at 6:30 p.m. at Danville Stadium. The same two teams will face each other again on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Posted 33 weeks ago

Dang! Dans fall out of first place

The Danville Dans and the Lafayette Aviators fought for first place in the Wabash River Division in the Prospect League on Thursday.

The Dans found themselves down 12-1 after the fourth inning and while they tried to come back, they ended up losing 14-8 and fell a ½ game behind the Aviators.

Ben Higgins had two hits with two RBIs for Danville, while Sam Bianco and Winston Parke each had two hits and a RBI, Oliver Dunn had two RBIs, Tony Castonguay had a RBI and Cooper McMurray had three hits.

Cole Heath took the loss, going 2 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and giving up five hits and six runs.

Tanner Craig had three hits with two home runs and seven RBIs for the Aviators.

Posted 33 weeks ago

DANS LOOKING FOR HOST FAMILIES

We all missed going to Danville Stadium and enjoying a Danville Dans game last summer. The good news is that Dans baseball is back for 2021. But we are still in need of host families to house the players. 

“The Danville area is known for its hospitality,” said Danville Dans managing partner Jeanie Cooke. “We’re asking families to again volunteer to house these college kids for the summer season.”

The Dans team is a member of the Prospect League, one of the premier college summer leagues in the nation. Baseball players from California, Texas, Kansas, Louisiana and points in between come to Danville to improve their pitching, fielding skills and hitting with wood bats. 

“These players start off as just a houseguest, but overtime become part of the family. The memories and relationships host families make with their ‘guest sons’ are invaluable and will last a lifetime,” Cooke noted. Host families have visited their Dan in college, watched them make it to the major leagues, and even attended their wedding. “A Dan that lived with me one summer still calls me every Mother’s Day,” said Cooke with a smile.

Host families receive two free season tickets and are invited to host-family events during the season. They are also recognized during Host Family Night at the end of the season. Hosts provide living accommodations and some meals but do not have to provide transportation for their Dan.

“If you have some young baseball fans that would like a big brother for a summer, or you’re an empty nester looking for a two-month house guest, the Danville Dans can use you,” noted Cooke. You can contact host family coordinator Chris Jaruseski at 217-918-0996 or email her at mikeandchrisj@comcast.net.

And who knows, your summer house guest may become a major league all-star in the next few years.

For more information about the Danville Dans, visit our website, www.DanvilleDans.com

Posted 36 weeks ago

Danville Dans Partners With Clear Gear For FanSafe Initiative

The Danville Dans is thrilled to announce a partnership with Clear Gear Disinfectant Spray, making the EPA-registered, non-bleach disinfectant that kills COVID-19, MRSA/staph, influenza and many other infectious diseases, its Official Disinfectant of the Danville Dans in support of its new FanSafe initiative.

The FanSafe program features infection prevention and safety measures for players, officials, staff and fans. The Dans will follow an infection prevention protocol using Clear Gear. Prior to each game, staff will disinfect high-touch fan areas such as rails and counters, as well as team areas such as dugouts and locker rooms. Players and officials will also disinfect their equipment, uniforms and footwear with Clear Gear.

Clear Gear Disinfectant Spray is a one-step disinfectant that kills 99.9% of germs while also eliminating odors. Since it contains no bleach, alcohol or ammonia, Clear Gear is non-corrosive to the wide range of gear, equipment, surfaces and facilities it’s used on. It also leaves no harsh noxious fumes behind like products containing bleach or ammonia do. The spray is a popular choice of athletes and sports teams, from peewee to pros, as well as schools, youth athletic organizations and gyms for infection prevention and destroying odors.

“We are honored to help support the Danville Dans and their FanSafe initiative,” said Clear Gear CEO Allyson Delius. “Getting back to sports in a safe manner is important to both athletes and fans. Team Clear Gear is thrilled to be part of the solution to keep America participating in its favorite pastime – playing and watching baseball!”

“We are proud to announce this unique partnership between our league members and Clear Gear to launch the FanSafe initiative,” Prospect League Commissioner Dennis Bastien said. “We hope that this adds another layer of assurance for our fans this upcoming season, as Clear Gear is proven and recognized as a leading disinfectant. We tip our caps to the fine folks at Clear Gear for recognizing the impact that additional comfort has in upholding our efforts to maintain the highest level of protection for our great fans in all of our ballparks across the league.”

Posted 44 weeks ago

Prospect League Launches 'Name the Conferences' Contest

The Prospect League announced a “Name the Conferences” contest Thursday, giving fans the opportunity to submit ideas and put their mark on the league.

With the addition of four new teams to its lineup for 2021, the Prospect League has realigned into two conferences, each with two divisions. The eastern-most conference’s divisions are named “East” and “West”, while the western-most conference’s divisions are “North” and “South”. The league is asking fans to help it name the two conferences.

Fans interested in participating should [CLICK HERE] to enter. Conference name submissions will be accepted through March 31. A committee designated by the Prospect League will select a winner for each conference and notify winners April 15.

Winners will receive a Prospect League Privilege Pass, granting the winner and one guest free entry to any league game throughout 2021, a prize pack from Prairie Farms Dairy, as well as a league cap and shirt.

Posted 44 weeks ago

2021 Schedule Announced

The Prospect League, home to elite collegiate baseball players from across the country, released its 2021 game schedule. Each team will play a 60-game regular-season in the summer collegiate wood-bat league, opening Thursday, May 27. Danville Dans’s schedule is as follows.

MAY/JUNE

JULY/AUGUST

The schedule is designed to give players a taste of what it’s like to play minor league baseball. Traveling by charter bus and playing 60 games in just under 70 days in high-quality venues and in front of enthusiastic crowds provides a truly professional experience.


Having last played in 2019, the Prospect League lineup looks a bit different in 2021 with the addition of four new members and five new markets with the Alton River Dragons (Alton, Ill.), Johnstown Mill Rats (Johnstown, Pa.), Burlington Bees (Burlington, Iowa), and Clinton LumberKings (Clinton, Iowa). The O’Fallon Hoots will get to play their first season in the Prospect League after moving to O’Fallon, Mo., following the 2019 season. Additionally, the DuPage Pistol Shrimp will play as the Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp.

“For the first time in league history, 16 teams will take the field on Opening Night,” said Prospect League commissioner Dennis Bastien. “We look forward to providing all of our fans, in all 16 cities, with the finest in summer collegiate baseball and family entertainment.”

For the purposes of playoffs, Prospect League teams are divided into two conferences with two divisions within each conference. The Eastern Conference includes the Champion City Kings (Springfield, Ohio), Chillicothe Paints (Chillicothe, Ohio), Johnstown Mill Rats, and West Virginia Miners (Beckley, W.Va.) in one division and the Danville Dans (Danville, Ill.), Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp, Lafayette Aviators (Lafayette, Ind.), and REX Baseball (Terre Haute, Ind.) in the other. The Western Conference includes the Burlington Bees, Clinton LumberKings, Normal CornBelters (Normal, Ill.), and Quincy Gems (Quincy, Ill.) in one division and the Alton River Dragons, Cape Catfish (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), O'Fallon Hoots, and Springfield Sliders (Springfield, Ill.) in the other.

The 2021 season also brings a return to split-season play, with division winners at the end of the first half of the season advancing to a one-game divisional championship August 5. Divisional champions advance to play a one-game conference championship August 7. Both conference champions advance to play one another in the best-of-three Prospect League Championship Series. Game one is August 9 and, after a travel day, game two and, if necessary, game three are August 11 and 12.

“Every fan should look forward to watching their team’s season unfold this summer,“ Bastien added. "See you at the ballpark!”

Posted 44 weeks ago