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.