Danville Dans Baseball

Danville Dans overcome 14 walks, five errors to beat Aviators

Most people can look at a box score, and even without the final outcome, can typically tell you which team was victorious.

But a quick glance at Monday’s contest between the Lafayette Aviators and the Danville Dans might have been a challenge.

Danville walked 14 batters and committed five errors, but it was the Dans earning a 10-6 victory over the Aviators before 326 humans and 10 dogs on Bark in the Park Night at a very steamy Danville Stadium.

“I guess I’m living right or I must have done something good today,’’ said Danville manager Eric Coleman.

Actually, the outcome of Prospect League contest came down to the final out as Danville’s Jonah Ulane got Lafayette’s Anthony Sanchez to fly out to very deep right field with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Defensive replacement Jacob Talamante basically made the catch with his back against the walk.

“We shouldn’t have been in that situation,’’ Colemand said. “We were fortunate or lucky with 14 walks. We still have to do a better job of situational hitting and we didn’t play catch.

“We didn’t do a good job in anyone of the phrases of the game.’’

In spite of the walks, the errors and some missed offensive opportunities, Danville (11-6 overall) was still able to win its third straight game and it’s 10th time this season that the Dans have scored seven or more runs in a game and they are now 9-1 in those games.

“We have a lot of good hitter and a lot of speed in our lineup,’’ said Danville outfielder Mateo Zunica, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI. “The speed helps because opposing pitchers don’t want to throw breaking balls if we have a runner on base because we are capable of stealing that base at any point. That really helps our hitters to get good pitches to hit.’’

Zunica had a pivotal RBI double in Danville’s four-run eighth inning, which allowed the Dans to take a 10-4 lead into the ninth inning, and they almost needed every one of those runs as Lafayette sent eight batters to the plate, scoring twice in the ninth.

“We did a pretty good job of executing,’’ Zunica said. “Getting those extra insurance runs helped take a little pressure off our bullpen.’’

But, the Dans still needed Ulane to get that final out, as the right-hander from Kansas secured his second save of the summer.

“You have to play the game hard for all nine innings,’’ Coleman said. “Offensively, we kept playing and battling until that last out and we were fortunate to make that catch at the wall to end the game.’’

Coleman was also disappointed because he didn’t feel like his team came back from Sunday’s off day with the proper approach.

“We have to come back ready to play after a day off,’’ he said. “We have to come back with the right mindset, and lock in for three hours.’’

Actually, Monday’s game was the fifth home game this season that went past 3 hours for the Dans.

Those long games could take a toll on Danville, as the Dans are playing 23 games over the next 23 days with a doubleheader tonight against Hannibal and just one off day on June 28th.

“We have a full roster, so that helps,’’ Coleman said. “We have some depth on the mound, which is good because of all these games we have coming up.

“Tonight was a win and we will take it. Now, we have to come back (tonight) with a doubleheader in our house.’’

Danville starter Stewart Currie just missed qualifying for his second win of the summer. Currie had to be removed from the contest with two outs in the fifth inning. Baseball scoring rules state that a starting pitcher must go five innings to qualify for the victory.

“We tried to get him there,’’ Coleman said. “With the pitch count rules, he needs to be more efficient so that he can qualify for the victory.’’

Reliever Johnny Ray, who threw 1.1 innings of shutout relief, picked up the victory; while Lafayette starter David Zoz was saddled with the loss.

Joining Zunica with multiple hits for Danville was shortstop Gavin Dugas, who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Dans honor former Danville Dodgers batboy

Before Monday’s contest with the Lafayette Aviators, there was a moment of silence to honor John Dowling, 84, of Watseka, who died in an automobile accident on Sunday in rural Iroquois County.

Dowling was the original bat boy for the Danville Dodgers in their first year at Danville Stadium. Dowling was a regular at Danville Stadium during the era of the Danville Dans.

Dowling’s wife, Reta Dowling, also died from injuries sustained in the two-car accident on U.S. 24, west of Watseka.

DANS ON DECK

Final score — Danville Dans 10, Lafayette Aviators 6

Key player — Danville right fielder Mateo Zunica goes 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Posted 1 day ago

Dans outlast Rex

At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters in the game of baseball was who won and who lost.

That was definitely the case on Tuesday night at Danville Stadium.

The Danville Dans claimed its second straight win over the first-place Terre Haute Rex with a 7-3 triumph before 3,194.

“It was sloppy baseball, but we will take the win,’’ said Danville manager Eric Coleman, whose team improved to 7-5 with its sixth home victory of the season. “We will live and learn from it. But, I would rather be on the winning side than the losing side.’’

Just how sloppy was Tuesday’s game?

The two teams combined for 21 walks (10 by Terre Haute and 11 by Danville), and they also hit four batters during the contest.

“Both teams were off on Monday,’’ Coleman said. “I don’t know if that’s an excuse.

“Honestly, I don’t know what to attribute that to. We are trying to teach our guys to compete in the zone and have no fear of contact. We want to create action within three pitches.’’

Danville was able to create offense early against Terre Haute starter Drew Meschede.

The Dans scored one in the first on an RBI single by Sky-Lar Culver and after the Rex tied the game with a run-scoring single from Mason Speirs in the second, Danville took the lead for good with a three-run second inning.

Leadoff batter Zach Huffins, who went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, drove home the go-ahead run with a single to bring in Jacob Talamante, who got things started with a one-out double.

“That’s not what I do most days, but the opportunity presented itself and I took advantage of it,’’ said Huffins, who leads the Prospect League with 16 stolen bases and he is second with 12 runs scored. “For my whole life, I’ve always been one of the faster guys on every team that I’ve played. Getting on base, stealing bases and scoring runs has always been my goal.’’

He later scored in that inning on a sacrifice fly from Gavin Dugas and an inning later after his double, Huffins scored on a two-run single by Dugas that gave the Dans a 6-3 lead.

“Zach sets the table,’’ Coleman said. “When he goes, we go.

“He had a day off on Sunday, so I’m sure he was anxious to get back into the lineup tonight.’’

Danville relief pitchers Johnny Ray, Matt Gammon and Jonah Ulane combined to throw 3.2 scoreless innings of relief in spite of that trio walking three and giving up three hits during that stretch.

“Seven runs with our pitching staff? I like our chances,’’ Coleman said. “It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but they got the job done.’’

Coleman hopes that his team can take the momentum from wins over Hannibal and Terre Haute on the road tonight to Springfield and then again at Terre Haute on Thursday.

DANS ON DECK

Final score — Danville Dans 7, Terre Haute Rex 3

Key player — Danville center fielder Zach Huffins went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Posted 1 week ago

Dans hold off Hoots

  • BY MARVIN HOLMAN mholman@dancomnews.com

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Sunday was a chance for the Danville Dans to get back at the Hannibal Hoots for a season-opening defeat.

And like when the Dans played the Hoots and Bismarck native Dylan Dodd on opening night of the Prospect League season, they got a look at another local pitcher.

Danville’s Steve Washilewski and Danville native and Hannibal pitcher Dylan Marble had a pitchers duel for the better part of six innings before the Dans got to Marble with two runs in the sixth and would go on to a 2-1 win.

After two losses to Chillicothe on Friday and Saturday at Danville Stadium, Dans coach Eric Coleman said the victory was important in staying in the race in the West Division.

“It was a good bounce back and we had a great pitching outing by Steve and we had key hits by Mateo Zunica and we were able to get the win,” Coleman said. “It was a good pitcher’s battle.”

Washilewski had nine strikeouts in his six innings for the Dans, while Marble gave up four hits with two strikeouts in five and 1/3 innings.

In the sixth inning, Danville finally got to Marble as Mateo Zunica got a double and would score on a double by Drew Bianco. Marble left and the Dans added another run as Bianco scored on a single by Sky-Lar Culver.

“(Marble) pitched well and he mixed speeds and we were fortunate to get some timely hitting and put up enough runs to get the win,” Coleman said.

Dodd had two hits for the Hoots while Danville Area Community College player Tye Thixton was 0-for-4.

The Dans were supposed to play the Hoots again on Monday, but the rains from Sunday put a damper on that. Monday’s game will be moved to be part of a doubleheader on June 19.

“We wanted to go out and play them again, but it was too wet to play,” Coleman said. “Now we go back to work tomorrow against Terre Haute and hope to get another win.”

The Dans are two and a half games behind the Rex entering today’s game at 6:35 p.m, so it is a chance for Danville to do some catchup.

“It is always important., we want to protect our home, but it is also a rivalry game. We beat them before in our house and hopefully we can do it again.

Stewart Currie (1-0) will get the start and will have some additional pitchers come in with Trevor Talpas and Cody Hawthorne and catcher Slate Fuller.

"Hopefully we will have a great crowd coming in for $2 buck Tuesday and we are having some players come in,” Coleman said. “We will have more pitching and more depth and it will be a great night. It is good to get some more guys in.”

Posted 1 week ago

Dans take a loss

Today’s game of baseball seems to be dominated by the three ‘true’ outcomes — the home run, the base on balls and the strikeout.

These three situations are the only ones where the result simply comes down to the battle between the batter against the pitcher.

In Major League Baseball, the strikeout rate has reached historic levels and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

For the Danville Dans, their numbers of strikeouts seem to be a pretty good indication of how the team will do on any given night.

Chillicothe left-hander starter Eric Sapp combined with two relievers to strike out 14 Danville batters on Saturday night as the Paints completed a two-game sweep on the Dans with a 5-1 victory before 1,067 at Danville Stadium.

“They pitched us tough and it showed in the last two games,’’ said Danville infielder Drew Bianco, who went 1-for-3 and drove home his team’s only run with a second-inning single.

During this two-game losing streak, Danville batters have struck out 27 times against Chillicothe pitching. And in the last three contests, including Thursday’s 4-0 win over Terre Haute, the Dans have had 38 punch outs.

“Coach (Drew) Erie worked with us today in batting practice on cutting down our strikeouts and changing our approaches,’’ said Bianco, who has had only three strikeouts in his 16 at-bats this summer. “Part of it this early in the summer, a lot of people haven’t seen live pitching in a while or it could be a big jump with the pitching that we are facing.

“Strikeouts are going to happen, but we still need to cut them down.’’

Especially, when you consider these facts.

Danville is 4-0 this season when it strikes out nine times or fewer, while the Dans are 1-5 this summer when it strikes out 10 or more times in a game.

“Strikeouts beat you down, especially when you are trying so hard not to strike out,’’ Bianco said. “I think that hurt us. We were trying too hard, we were worrying about it and thinking too much about not striking out, and it actually made us strike out more.’’

Danville manager Eric Coleman knows that trying to make adjustments at the plate is a process for all players.

“Good pitching beats good hitting,’’ he said. “They got us again tonight.

“But, we also have to do a better job of putting the ball in play and letting the chips fall where they may.’’

The Dans (5-5) managed just 11 baserunners against the Paints and back-to-back singles by pinch-hitter Kobe Kato and catcher Eric Bigani in the ninth inning was the only frame where Danville had multiple hits.

Because of that, the Dans, who lead the Prospect League with 35 stolen bases, failed to get one for the first time this summer.

“You have to get on base to get the running game going,’’ said Coleman, who believes that speed never goes into a slump. “Good teams bounce back and that’s what we are going to do.’’

Coleman also pointed out that he needs his starting pitchers to work a little deeper into the games.

Saturday’s starter, Carter Holt, went just 3.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out three. The Danville bullpen of Matt Gammon, Colin Coates and Aleq McMullin combined for 6.1 innings of shutout relief.

“Our bullpen gave us an opportunity to come back tonight,’’ Coleman said. “That group has been a strength so far and we will continue to run those guys out there.

“But, we need some quality starts. We need to get those starters deeper into the games like the fifth or sixth innings.’’

It’s a quick turnaround today for the Dans, who travel to Hannibal for a 3 p.m. game against the Hoots at Clemens Field.

“We have to bounce back,’’ Coleman said. “We are figuring out who we are and we are quickly, but surely, identifying who is going to be in the lineup and who is not.’’

Chillicothe’s Andrew Czech had the big day at the plate for the Paints, going 4-for-5 with a run scored and two RBIs — both coming on his double in the fourth inning. Third baseman Gama Martinez delivered the big blow in the first inning with his two-out, bases-clearing double to center giving Chillicothe a 3-0 lead and all the offense it would need.

DANS ON DECK

Final score — Chillicothe Paints 5, Danville Dans 1

Key player — Chillicothe starter Eric Sapp and two relievers combined to strike out 14 Danville Dans.

Up next — The Dans hit the road today for a 3 p.m. contest in Hannibal against the Hoots at Clemens Field.

Probable starters — Danville: RHP Steven Washilewski (1-0, 6.00 ERA); Hannibal: RHP Dylan Marble (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

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<p>Danville Dans</p>

Danville Dans

Posted 1 week ago

Dans extend win streak with 4-hit shutout

BY CHAD DARE cdare@dancomnews.com
Photo by Greg Flint
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The Terre Haute Rex came into Danville Stadium on Thursday night with the best record in the Prospect League.

The Rex had won six of their first seven to start the year, including a 5-2 triumph in their first meeting with the Danville Dans on June 1.

On Thursday night, the Dans got a little bit of payback, beating the Rex 4-0 before 578 fans at Danville Stadium.

“We have to protect the house,’’ Danville manager Eric Coleman said. “It’s like hockey or basketball, you have to protect your home. We have won five in a row here at home.

“Terre Haute is a good team. They beat us once earlier this year and I told the guys that we had to get them back. It’s a fun series with them and it’s now tied at 1-1.’’

A big reason for things equally out between Terre Haute (6-2) and Danville (5-3) was right-handed starter Andrew Hansen along with three relievers, who combined to pitch a four-hit shutout.

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Hansen was making his debut with the Danville Dans, as he got the win after going five innings, allowing three hits, walking three and striking out one.

“It was OK,’’ said Hansen, a junior-to-be from St. Mary’s College in California. “It definitely wasn’t my best and it definitely wasn’t my worst. I was able to work through it.’’

The Rex managed to get at least one base runner in every inning against Hansen, but a pair of double plays allowed the Danville right-hander to keep them off the board.

“I didn’t feel like I had all my pitches tonight,’’ Hansen said. “The ones that I did have, it was all about spotting them up and working through it.

“I’m a big 2-ball guy. I like getting ground-ball double plays.’’

But, the second double play for Hansen was not a ground ball. Instead it was line drive off the bat of Terre Haute’s Craig Shepherd that seemed to be heading straight for Hansen’s head.

“It was all reaction,’’ he said.”I was actually thinking that he was going to hit one right back at me and the next pitch, it was right at my face.

“I threw my glove up in defense, caught it and I was able to throw the guy (Nelson Muniz) out at third.’

Hansen was pitching just about 24 hours after arriving in Danville from his home in Roseville, Calif.

“Andrew is a St. Mary’s kid and we’ve had good success with guys from that school,’’ Coleman said. “We talked to him earlier this week and told him that we were going to start him tonight. He was able to throw a bullpen back at home before making the trip.

“Thankfully, he got in here early enough on (Wednesday) that he got a good night’s rest before taking the mound for us.’’

Following up Hansen’s five shutout frames was right-hander Johnny Ray with a scoreless sixth inning, Kollin Stone then held Terre Haute scoreless in the seventh and eight innings, leading to Johan Ulane getting the final three outs in the ninth.

“Right now, I think our bullpen is our strength,’’ Coleman said. “We have guys that are 88 to 92 or 93. Ulane should have been the reliever of the year last year in Prospect League. When we can get the ball to him in the ninth with an opportunity to win a game — I like our chances.’’

Ironically, Ulane’s only troubles on Thursday came after a 30-minute delay before the start of Thursday’s contest. Ulane had the responsibility of chalking the foul lines and the batter’s boxes. While the foul lines were nearly perfect the same couldn’t be said for the batter’s boxes, which seemingly were pointed toward left-center. They were erased and fixed before the game’s first pitch was thrown.

Offensively, for the first time this year, Danville failed to score seven runs in a home game.

But with the pitching staff tossing a shutout, the first for the Dans this season, the RBI double from Mateo Zunica in the fourth inning was all the offense they would need.

Danville added three more runs in the fifth off of Terre Haute starter Adam Polansky, who held the Dans to just two runs over 7.1 innings back on June 1st. The highlight of the fifth was a two-out, two-run triple by Gavin Dugas.

“We were seeing him for the second time and we made some good adjustments at the plate,’’ Coleman said.”We also had more of our core guys in the lineup.

“He’s a good pitcher, but we’re a pretty good team. We are starting to put it all together and we now need to carry it over to this weekend against Chillicothe.’’

Danville will begin a two-game series against the Chillicothe Paints tonight at Danville Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

Posted 1 week ago

Dans set to light new scoreboard

An official lighting ceremony for Danville Stadium’s new scoreboard will take place Saturday.

The new scoreboard structure features a 10-foot by 36-foot fixed-digit scoreboard and an 8-foot by 36-foot video display from Watchfire. The scoreboard is designed to retain the classic feel of the historic Danville Stadium, while the video display offers the digital experience fans and players expect at modern sports venues, according to Dave Warns, Watchfire’s vice president of on-premise sales, in a press release. Watchfire is headquartered in Danville.

Saturday’s Danville Dans game starts at 6:30 p.m.

A historic baseball field called home by some of the game’s greatest players, including Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese, the stadium has a new scoreboard and sod.

Danville Stadium was built in 1946 to host the Danville Dodgers, a farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Used as the setting for the ballpark scenes in the 1991 movie “The Babe,” Danville Stadium today is owned by the City of Danville and hosts local teams from area schools and organizations, as well as the Danville Dans, a collegiate summer team in the Prospect League.

Watchfire and Danville Stadium have a long history. Watchfire manufactured a bulb-based message center for the stadium in 1996 and created an LED video display that was installed in 2007 alongside the stadium’s scoreboard. The video display was used to show player headshots and stats, as well as upcoming events and sponsor logos.

Both the fixed-digit scoreboard and message center reached their useful lifespans, and in 2017 the stadium was forced to use a paper scoreboard system that was updated by hand.

“Players and fans were disappointed with the makeshift scoreboard, so when Watchfire was contacted by Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer to help solve the Danville Stadium scoreboard problem, we were eager to help,” said Warns, through the press release. “The project would not have been possible without the generous support of the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation, so we were honored when Mr. Hegeler visited our production facility in March to see the scoreboard and video display before installation.”

Watchfire worked with Bendsen Signs & Graphics in Decatur and Offutt Development on the design and installation of the board.

In addition to Danville Stadium, Watchfire has produced video displays to complement fixed digit scoreboards at stadiums across the U.S., including baseball stadiums for the San Jose Giants and Lamar University, and the University of Dayton’s football stadium.

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