Minder delivers game-winning hit for Dans against Rex
Whether you think it was the baseball Gods or the home-field advantage, Trevor Minder’s eighth-inning ground ball turned into the game-winning hit.
Minder, who drove in all three runs for Danville, delivered a two-out, two-run single off of Terre Haute reliever Thomas Waning giving the Dans a 3-2 victory over the first-place Rex before 3,412 at Danville Stadium.
“The baseball Gods gave us a hand tonight,” said Danville assistant coach Drew Erie, who was filling in for suspended manager Eric Coleman. “It just goes your way some times.”
Coleman was suspended two games for his part in the benches-clearing altercation on Monday night against the Quincy Gems. Rick Fraire, the manager of the Gems, was also suspended two games, while Quincy’s Riley Pittman received a one-game suspension.
“EC (Coleman) has gotten me and Jesse (Schullstrom) ready to go, no matter what happens,” Eric said. “We just stood up and did it for him tonight.”
That was also the rally cry from the players.
“I think (last night) lit a fire under us a little bit,” said Minder. “He got into it and got us going. We felt like we had to pick it up today for him.”
Minder admitted that he was excited about the opportunity to hit with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth.
“It’s fun having that opportunity to give your team the lead,” he said. “I knew he was going to come into the zone, so I was trying to be aggressive, put the ball in play and not try to do too much.
"We got lucky.”
Actually, the bad-hop grounder is one that Minder has seen before at Danville Stadium.
In the first inning of Monday’s game against Quincy, he had one of those bad hops come up and get him in the shoulder and before the game, he almost took one in the face.
“I’ve learned that you have to play for hose hops on this field,” Minder said. “When I saw it was hit right at (their shortstop), it didn’t look good, but we got the bounce.
"You go from being sad to be really happy when you see that ball bounce over his head.”
Connor Taylor, a former standout at Salt Fork and at Danville Area Community College, wound up taking the hard-luck loss for the Terre Haute Rex as both Gavin Dugas, who reached on a hit-by-pitch, and Damian Pierce, who singled, were his responsibility.
Tuesday’s contest was the fourth 1-run game between the rivals for the Branch Rickey Cup, as the Rex still lead the season-series 6-3 over the Dans.
“It seems like every single game that we’ve had with these guys have been 1-run games — walkoffs, just really dog fights until the end,” said Danville reliever Blake Schilleci, who earned the victory with 2.1 innings of shutout relief. “We are on a roll right now and this helps us keep it going.”
Schilleci, who was the Pitcher of the Week in the Prospect League, struck out five and walked one during his outing.
But, he also admitted it wasn’t the same with Coleman.
“We definitely missed having him in the dugout,” Schilleci said. “But, we were able to rally behind coach Jesse and coach Erie. We fought for that chance to get a win against a really good ball club.”
Erie pointed out that Danville just missed having another game with double-digit hits. The Dans had nine hits in the contest after racking up 10 or more hits in four of their last five contests.
After a grueling stretch of 13 games in 12 days, the Danville Dans finally get a day off on Wednesday.
They being a stretch of 10 games in eight days on Thursday with a doubleheader against the Hannibal Hoots at Danville Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
DANS ON DECK
Final score — Danville Dans 3, Terre Haute Rex 2
Key players — Shortstop Trevor Minder went 3-for-4, driving in all three runs for the Dans