Offense lifts Danville Dans past Hoots
Every manager looks good when his team scores double digits.
So far this summer, the Danville Dans are 5-0 when they score 10 or more runs in the Prospect League contest.
The latest offensive explosion came Wednesday night at Clemens Field as Danville parlayed 13 hits into a 13-1 victory over the Hannibal Hoots.
“Yeah, the game is a lot easier when you can get double-digit hits and double-digit runs,” Coleman said. “It also helps when your pitchers only give up one run.”
Danville’s duo of Noah Beason and Will Klein combined to hold Hannibal to that one run on three hits, as Beason went the first six to get the victory, improving to 1-0; while Klein finished off the final three frames to pick up his first save of the summer.
And, while the pitching was important, Danville has won three straight behind an offense that is averaging 9.7 runs per game, 11.0 hits per game — including 4.7 extra-base hits per game.
“The key has been staying consistent at the plate and hunting fastballs,” Coleman said. “It’s the same thing that we’ve been talking about from the first day of the summer.
"These guys are getting locked in and they are doing the things that we fully expected to see from them.”
Leading the way on Wednesday night was second baseman Gavin Dugas, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored.
Dugas, an incoming freshman this fall at Louisiana State, is six for his last 16 at the plate and he has scored eight runs in the last five games for Dans.
“Gavin is a special player,” said Coleman, noting that Danville was without Dugas for 10 days as he went through the concussion protocol. “I think he’s been one of the best, if not the best player, in this league this year.”
Joining Dugas with multiple hits on Wednesday was designated hitter Kobe Kato, who had three to bring his team-leading batting average up to .351, while catcher Ben Bianco went 2-for-5 as he is 12-of-34 (.353) in his last eight games for Danville.
“We’ve been able to put together a really strong lineup,” Coleman said. “We have guys with speed. We have guys with power. And we just have good offensive guys at the plate.”
With the Quincy Gems sweeping the Terre Haute Rex on Wednesday night, the Danville Dans find themselves just 1.5 games out of first place in the Prospect League’s West Division.
“We can’t get ourselves all wrapped up in those other games,” Coleman said. “We need to take care of the Danville Dans. We have to keep getting better and if we do that, we will have a shot at the playoffs and a shot at the title when it’s all said and done.”
Coleman pointed out that Danville will likely get all three Kansas University players back this weekend from their trip to Asia, representing the United States of America.
Danville will face former Bismarck-Henning standout Dylan Dodd for the fourth time this summer tonight as the Dans and Hoots wrap up their two game series at Clemens Field.
Dodd is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA against Danville. The left-hander has 30 strikeouts and just one walk in 18 innings against the Dans.