Danville Dans News

Dans score franchise record 28 runs to beat Aviators

Story By Chad Dare | Photos by  Deb Edwards | Commercial-News

No doubt about it, the Danville Dans have had the best offense during the first two weeks of the Prospect League season.

On Tuesday night, Danville flexed its muscles a little bit against the Lafayette Aviators with a 28-5 triumph before 1,762 at Danville Stadium.

And it was a record-setting night for the Dans (7-4).

The 28 runs is both a Dans record during the 11-year Prospect League era, but it’s also an all-time franchise record for the Dans.

The previous best in the Prospect League era was 19 against the Springfield Sliders on July 3, 2012.

Before Tuesday, the franchise record for the Dans was 21, set on July 9, 2005 against the Springfield Rifles and again on Aug. 6, 2007 against the DuPage Dragons.

“I cannot ever remember being a part of a team that scored 28 runs,” said Danville first baseman Brad Powers, who went 2-for-4 with five RBIs. “Maybe in little league.”

The other record that Danville set on Tuesday night was its 11-run fourth inning. No Danville team had ever scored double-digits in an inning during the 11-year history of the Prospect League.

But, the Dans did fall short of the franchise record, which is 16 set in the Aug. 6, 2007 game against the DuPage Dragons in Lisle.

“I can reflect on those at the end of the summer. I get enough gratification just getting the win over Brent (McNeil),” said Danville manager Eric Coleman, referring to the Lafayette manager, who was his pitching coach for Coleman and the Dans back in 2014. “They have a really good team over there and we are going to have some fun battles all summer with them.”

On Tuesday, that enjoyment was definitely one-sided.

Danville actually scored in every inning but the fifth, and the Dans had a four-run first, the 11-run fourth and a eight-run eighth inning.

“When you are able to put up crooked numbers in three innings … you have a pretty good chance of winning,” said Coleman. “Our guys came in with the right mindset after a day off. This is my sixth season, and teams have not always handled that off day very well.

"Today, we came back to work and put up 28 runs.”

And Coleman credited hitting coach Jack Murphy for his work with the Danville Dans batters, who lead the league in average (.306), runs (109), hits (115), homers (14), RBIs (89) and walks (71).

One of the most important of those statistics could be the walks as Danville drew 14 base on balls on Tuesday night and the Dans turned them into 11 runs.

“We are just relaxed at the plate,” said Powers, who drew three of the walks. “We are pretty good hitters and that’s all about discipline. We are just looking for a good pitch to hit.

"That’s what I’m doing and that’s what a lot of our hitters are doing right now. It’s just good disciplined hitting.”

But, what was most impressive about that is that Danville drew five of those walks after building its double-digit lead instead of swinging for the fences.

“We have had the right approach,” Coleman said. “There is a reason why we lead the league in hitting. Coach Murphy has done a great job with our hitters, but we need to keep getting better.”

Powers capped Danville’s 11-run fourth inning with the team’s first grand slam of the summer. The blast came after he struck out swinging for the second out in the inning.

“I was just a little out in front of everything on that first at-bat,” he said. “On my next at-bat, I tried to take a better approach, but I was still a little ahead. I got down 0-2 and then I finally sat back and got a hold of one.”

Those final four runs were part of the 10 runs that Danville scored with two outs in the inning and all 11 runs were unearned. It was a definitely avalanche of runs against the Aviators.

“Hopefully, we can keep it going,” Powers said. “It’s just as easy to get on the wrong side of an avalanche and have no one hitting.

"We just need to keep taking good approaches to the plate and doing our jobs.”

The offense wasn’t the only impressive part of the game for the Dans.

Starter RJ Kuruts improved to 2-0 as he went five innings, allowing five hits, one run — it was unearned — while walking one and striking out four.

Additionally, Danville got two shutout innings of relief from Jesse Wainscott and Kohl Simas, making his Danville debut, struck out four in 1.1 innings.

Posted 233 weeks ago

Dans use 'small ball' to beat CornBelters

Story and photos by the amazing Chad Dare 

Chicks dig the long ball.

At least that’s what a popular shoe company told us 20 years ago with their advertising campaign.

This summer, the home run has been a big part of the Danville Dans offensive game plan as they lead the league in dingers (12), RBIs (65) and run scored (81).

But on Sunday afternoon, Danville needed to play a little ‘small-ball’ to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Normal CornBelters before 544 at Danville Stadium.

“This was a lot different than last night. But you never know in the Prospect League or baseball, in general,’’ said Danville manager Eric Coleman, referring to the Dans 18-6 triumph on Saturday night against the Quincy Gems. “Today, we only get three runs and three hits, but it’s a good win and we will take it.’’

Coleman acknowledged that his squad might have been a little sluggish after an offensive firework display on Saturday night.

But some of that can also be attributed to the opponent. Normal used six different pitchers in the nine-inning contest, with no pitcher going more than two innings.

“It was kind of like a fall ball game where they kept rotating pitchers and they were keeping us off-balanced,’’ Coleman said. “We found a way to win. We scratched and we clawed to get those three runs. Using a safety squeeze to tie the game and then a sacrifice fly to get the winning run home.’’

Both of those came in the seventh inning for Danville.

Third baseman Jalen Jones got things started for the Dans with a double to left-field. That was the team’s only extra-base hit on the contest. He then stole third and after a one-out walk to Marcel Bachelier, Danville went into its playbook to tie the game at 2-2.

Center fielder Walker McCleney, who didn’t have an RBI in his first 24 at-bats, laid down a near perfect safety squeeze. Normal left-handed pitcher Jake Lotz fielded the bunt and tried to get Jones at the plate, but catcher Matt Richards couldn’t hold onto the ball and make the tag.

“This turned into a game where we had to lay down some bunts and manufacture runs,’’ said McCleney, a senior-to-be from Alabama. “When the pitchers for both teams are throwing well and both teams are playing good defense — it only takes a few runs to win a game.’’

But, what about the long ball?

“We are not trying to hit home runs,’’ said McCleney, whose team won its first game of the summer without hitting a homer on Sunday. “We are just putting good swings on the ball and they are flying out.

“But, when that doesn’t happen, like today, you have to know how to execute the small-ball game to get the offense going.’’

After McCleney tied the game, Andrew Meggs, an infielder from Creighton making his Danville Dans debut, followed with a fly ball to left field that just barely scored Santiano Rivera from third base.

According to home plate umpire Chris King, Rivera was able to get his hand on home plate before Richards applied the tag.

That ruling didn’t sit well with the CornBelters. Both Richards and first baseman Canyon McWilliams were ejected from the game.

“In that seventh inning, we just used our approach of get them on, get them over and get them in,’’ Coleman said. “It worked today.

“You have to be able to adapt in this game. Today, we had to play ‘small ball’ and (Saturday) we were more physical with 18 runs on 14 hits.’’

The other part of that winning equation for the Dans was an excellent pitching performance from starter Blake Malatestinic along with reliever Jackson Kelley, who was also making his Danville Dans debut.

Malatestinic went six innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out two.

Kelley followed with three shutout and hitless innings, while he walked two and also struck out two. Kelley was credited with the victory to improve to 1-0.

Danville, which has won its last two games, ended the week with a 3-3 record and the Dans are 6-4, just 1.5 games behind the Champion City Kings and the Lafayette Aviators for first place in the Prospect League’s East Division.

“We don’t ever want to have a losing week,’’ said Coleman. “We bounced back from a couple of tough losses to Lafayette and we get another chance against them on Tuesday.’’

Posted 233 weeks ago

Bachelier's first homer leads Danville past Quincy


A pair of one-run losses on the road can really hurt a team’s morale.

But all of that it was quickly erased for the Danville Dans on Saturday night.

With a crowd of 2,413 at Danville Stadium for Military Appreciation Night and a fireworks show following the contest, the Dans got the festivities started early and often with an 18-6 triumph over the Quincy Gems.

“This is good for everyone,” said Danville right-fielder Marcel Bachelier, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI double in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third. “Everyone just loosens up and it helps you to remember that you are supposed to have fun with this game.

"This was a good night for the Danville Dans.”

And Danville manager Eric Coleman pointed out, that it’s always good for the team to have a good game like Saturday night when there is a big crowd in the stands.

“You always want to play well in front of your home crowd — they back us and support us all summer,” Coleman said. “We need them as much as we need our teammates.

"They are like our 10th man.”

Both Bachelier and Coleman acknowledged that Saturday’s big win helped offset some of the disappointment of back-to-back 1-run losses on the road against the first-place Lafayette Aviators on Thursday (7-6) and Friday (9-8 in 11 innings).

“We have been hitting the ball and we have been playing good baseball,” Bachelier said. “But, we just let those last two games on the road get away for us. It’s not like we have been playing terrible.”

But, in both of those losses, Lafayette overcame deficits with crooked-run innings and Danville failed to answer after either inning.

On Saturday, Quincy was able to score six runs in four innings and the only crooked-number inning for the Gems, three runs in third, was followed by a six-run inning for the Dans, which was highlighted by Bachelieer’s opposite-field homer.

“I thought our guys showed character with the way that we bounced back after those last two losses to Lafayette,” Coleman said. “And I was really proud of our guys because every time that Quincy scored, we came back and scored. We kept building upon our lead.”

Bachelier, who came into Saturday’s game with no RBIs in his first four games with the Dans, quickly changed that stat with an opposite-field double off the left-field fence to score Santino Rivera, capping a four-run first inning for Danville.

“I started to job, because I didn’t see the ball at first,” said Bachelier admitting that he thought it was a home run. “All of the sudden, I saw it kick back and I quickly realized that it hadn’t gone out.”

He took care of that in his next at-bat. This time, Bachelier cleared the left-field fence for his first homer of the summer.

So, why did both extra-base hits go to the opposite field?

“They were both outside and low,” he said. “I love that. I just hit it hard both times and the second one went over the fence.”

So far this season, the Dans have hit homers in six of nine contests and Danville is now 5-1 when it homers.

“I knew we were going to be more physical this summer,” said Coleman, who is known for his running game. “We are still going to get our running game tonight, but we are being aggressive at the plate and we are hunting fastballs.

"Our philosophy is still to get them on, get them over and get them in, but if we can do it a few times with the home run, that’s works just as well.”

The Dans will attempt to conclude the week with a .500 record with a win today at home against the Normal CornBelters.

“Our goal is to win every week,” Coleman said. “We can’t do that this week, but finishing at .500 is better than losing the week.”

Normal, which is in its first season of the Prospect League, is making its only regular-season appearance at Danville Stadium today. First pitch between the CornBelters and the Dans is set for 4:30 p.m.

Both teams will sending right-handers from Eastern Illinois University to the mound this afternoon. Normal is going with Tyler Jones, who is 0-0 with a 5.78 ERA in one start; while Danville will counter with Blake Malatestinic, who is 0-2 with an 8.52 ERA in two starts this summer.

Both Jones and Malatestinic played this past spring for the Panthers, who are under the direction of former Danville standout Jason Anderson.

Posted 234 weeks ago

Danville Dan’s Cade Brown goes 3-for-4 with 2 homers in batting debut


Cade Brown was a highly successful two-way player in high school days at Cathedral Catholic in San Diego, Calif.

But when the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder took the field this spring for the University of San Diego Torreros it was as a pitcher only.

Brown made 19 appearances for USD, including three starts. He was 2-1 with a 7.22 ERA.

So when San Diego sent Brown to Danville this summer, the Torreros coaching staff was hoping that he could get time as both a pitcher and a hitter.

After two scoreless relief appearances this summer, Brown got his first opportunity to swing the wooden bats on Wednesday night and boy, did he swing the bat.

Brown went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs as the Danville Dans rallied from 3-0 deficit to beat the Lafayette Aviators 6-3 before an announced crowd of 386 at Danville Stadium.

“I didn’t hit much this spring, so I came in here with a clear mind and trying to focus on doing well at the dish as well as on the mound,” Brown said. “I guess it paid off tonight. I’m excited to keep doing both for the rest of the summer.”

Coleman said that’s exactly what his school wants him to do this summer.

“They want him to hit and we will give him that opportunity,” Coleman said. “He is also going to get the start on Sunday, but we need to keep getting that bat in the lineup.

"We needed a spark tonight and he provided it.”

Brown admitted that he didn’t expect to hit one homer, let alone two.

“I was just kicking off the rust and things went the way that they did — better than I expected,” he said. “We were down three runs and I just knew that I had to drive in a run. I didn’t get most of the barrel on it, but I knew for the ball flight that it had a chance.”

His first home run allowed Danville to close the deficit with Lafayette to 3-2 in the sixth inning. His second homer in the eighth inning, which was blasted deep into the night, helped extend the team’s lead.

The Dans (4-2) actually took the lead with a two-run seventh inning.

Louisiana State University freshman-to-be Wes Toups delivered the go-ahead hit for Danville with a two-run double into the large right-center field gap, as Lafayette’s center fielder Mason Sykes was playing Toups to hit the opposite way with runners on second and third.

“I normally try to go away with a lot of pitches,” Toups said. “But in that situation, I’m trying to get the runner in from third base. So, I’m looking to put the barrel on the ball and pull it.

"I got a good pitch to hit and I didn’t miss it.”

After being held scoreless in the first five innings, Danville came back to win with two runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

“Our pitchers did a great job of holding them there at three runs,” Toups said. “We were hitting the ball hard the whole game. It just seemed like our offense turned on there late in game — at the right time.”

Danville starter R.J. Kuruts didn’t figure into the decision as he allowed three runs — only two were earned — in sixth innings.

Tanner Green picked up the victory with two shutout innings of relief, while Ryan Patel earned his first save with a scoreless ninth.

The Dans will play the Aviators again tonight and Friday, but those games will be at Loeb Stadium in Lafayette.

Posted 234 weeks ago

Dans continue to adjust in defeat

By JIM COTTER, Commercial-News (Be sure to subscribe!) 
Photos by Deb Edwards

The journey through the summer collegiate baseball season can be a long and arduous process.

Just ask Danville Dans head coach Eric Coleman, who is beginning his sixth season as manager of the club.

The Lafayette Aviators, who have sprinted to a 5-0 start to the 2019 Prospect League season, defeated the Dans 6-2 on Monday evening at Danville Stadium to remain perfect on the young season.

The Dans, who have a host of new players this season from across the country, are still trying to figure things out with their new teammates, and according to Coleman, sometimes that takes some adjusting.

“We have a lot of new players, but some of the places that we are getting these players from are very familiar. For example, the University of San Diego has been good for us through the past few seasons, and we once again have a couple players from that school,” Coleman said about the influx of new players and how the transition is from year to year.

One of those players from San Diego, Max Jung Goldberg, has adapted well since his arrival in Danville, hitting a robust .474 (9-19) so far in the first five games of the season. Goldberg collected three hits for the Dans on Tuesday night, and is enjoying his time with the Dans so far this season.

“I’m just trying to get better and prepare for the fall for when I return for my second year at the University of San Diego. I really enjoy the crowds here (at Danville Stadium) and it’s been a great atmosphere thus far,” Goldberg said about his initial impression of Danville and the fans.

Spotty defense was the main culprit that led to the Dans’ downfall against Lafayette, as three errors opened the door to a quick 6-0 deficit after the top half of the fourth inning.

It wasn’t until the bottom half of the fourth before the Dans were able to dent the scoreboard, as they scored a pair of runs, but left the bases loaded to cut the Aviators’ lead further.

“We left a lot of runners on base tonight, and we need to learn to play catch, because our defense let us down with the three errors. Some positives to take away from the game, however, were that we had runners on in seven of the nine innings, and had seven hits on the night, but it’s all about making a quick turnaround and coming back tomorrow night to play these guys again,” Coleman added regarding the miscues on defense, and the runners left on base.

Blake Malatestinic started the game and went four innings, giving up all six runs, four of which were earned. Reliever Kody Reeser came in to throw five shutout innings in relief to stop the bleeding, but the offense couldn’t hold up their end of the deal and the Aviators closed the game out to notch the win.

“I thought Kody (Reeser) did a good job of keeping us in the ball game, but we couldn’t take advantage of it. They (Lafayette) are a good team, and we’ll bounce back and go at them again tomorrow night,” Coleman said about his reliever and his performance for keeping the Dans in the game.

Malatestinic suffered the loss for the Dans (3-2), who lost for the first time in the past three games. Brendan Reid got the win for Lafayette, who were led on offense by Trey Sweeney, who went 3-4 at the plate, including a double, a pair of runs batted in, and a stolen base.

Posted 234 weeks ago

Craig Keuchel Named Player of the Day

For the second straight day, a Danville Dans player hit two home runs and he earned the Player of the Day honors. Sunday catcher Craig Keuchel, from Conroe, TX, a sophomore at Hill College, went two for five, the two hits, both home runs and driving in five runs and then getting on base once on a hit by a pitch to help lead the Danville Dans to a 15-8 win over the Hannibal Hoots.

The previous day it was teammate shortstop Jalen Jones from McDonough, GA, a freshman at Western Carolina University who it two bombs out of the park.

The Danville Dans lead the Prospect League with seven home runs on the year.

Posted 235 weeks ago

Dans roll past Hoots on road

The Danville Dans hit the road for the first time this season on Saturday and made the most of it.

The Dans had 14 hits as they defeated the Hannibal Hoots 10-5 in a game played at QU Stadium.

Jalen Jones led the way for the Dans with three hits and three RBIs which included two home runs, while Ryan Archibald had two hits and three RBIs, Aidan Malm had two hits and a RBI and Bradford Powers and Steven Kokoski each had two hits.

Dawson Sweatt got the win on the mound for Danville, going four innings with three strikeouts, Ethan McCarty had one strikeout and gave up one hit in two innings and Ryan Patel had five strikeouts in three innings.

Posted 235 weeks ago

Danville splits doubleheader with Terre Haute

By Chad Dare, Commercial-News 
(Be sure to subscribe!

Steve Kokoski admitted that the Danville Dans were a little upset after dropping the season-opener, 6-5, to the Terre Haute Rex.

That game was a suspended game from Thursday night because of lightning and finished as part of a doubleheader on Friday night at Danville Stadium.

“We were a little angry because we really wanted to win our first game at home,” he said.

Kokoski and the Dans made sure their second home game ended with a better result thank in part to a 7-run first inning.

Danville achieved a split of the Prospect League doubleheader with an 8-1 victory over Terre Haute.

“Good teams are supposed to respond,” Danville manager Eric Coleman said. “It always helps when you are able to score seven runs in the first inning.”

The Dans had only three hits in the opening frame, but they drew four walks and all four of them came around to score as all three hits produced runs.

It started with a tow-run double to right by Brad Powers, and then Ryan Archibald had a two-run double to deep center field but the biggest blow came from Kokoski, who hammered the team’s first home run — a three-run shot — over the left-field fence, capping the 7-run inning and knocking Rex starter Logan DeWulf from the contest.

“It was a pitch to my liking and I just tried to put a good stroke on it,” said Kokoski, a junior-to-be from St. Leo College in Florida.

That was more than enough offense for Danville right-hander R.J. Kuruts, who gave up just one run in six innings. Kuruts had eight strikeouts and no walks as he improves to 1-0 on the summer.

“R.J. was outstanding,” Coleman said. “We had heard a bunch of good things on him and he delivered tonight.”

Danville got an insurance run in the fourth inning as Wes Toups, an incoming-freshman at LSU, blasted his first collegiate home run to right-center field.

The first game, which was a continuation of the suspended game from Thursday night, started with the Terre Haute Rex holding a 2-0 lead in the third inning.

Terre Haute added two more runs — both unearned — against Danville relief pitcher Kody Reeser. Austin Weiler and Aaron Beck had run-scoring singles in the frame.

The Rex extended their lead to 5-0 on an RBI single from Mitchell Garrity in the fourth inning.

After just two singles in its first four innings, the Dans scored its first run of the 2019 season in the fifth as Wes Toups started the frame with a double to left. He would score the first run on a double by catcher Craig Keuchel.

Danville would load the bases with back-to-back walks to Ryan Archibald and Santino Rivera. Max Goldberg delivered a two-run single as the Dans pulled within 5-3 in the fifth inning.

“Our guys showed a lot of fight,” Coleman said. “We played until the last out. I like what is going on. It was a tough one today. We will bounce back and see what we are made of, it’s still early.”

Terre Haute made it 6-3 with a solo home run by Reed Hjelle in the seventh inning.

Once again, the Dans used the extra-base hit to get two runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Brad Powers got things started with a one-out double to right-center and he scored on a double to left-center by Archibald. Goldberg drove in his third run of the game with another double.

“It was kind of unusual starting a game with a 2-0 deficit,” said Archibald. “We finally got things going offensively in the fifth and seventh innings.

"I think that shows what kind of team we are going to be this season. We kept battling until the end and everyone on this team has that drive in them. We are going to compete for every inning of every game. As coach Coleman says, our goal is to win the week.”

Thanks Commerical-News and Deb Edwards for the great photo. 

Posted 235 weeks ago

Dans, Rex will play 14 innings tonight

BY CHAD DARE, Commercial-News 

Here we go again.

That’s basically what Danville Dans manager Eric Coleman and Terre Haute Rex manager Tyler Wampler said after their Prospect League season opener was suspended in the third inning by lightning that accompanied Thursday’s thunderstorms that moved through the area.

Terre Haute, which scored single runs in the first and second innings, was batting with one out in the third inning when lightning was detected within vicinity of Danville Stadium. According to NCAA and Prospect League rules, play was immediately halted.

The teams attempted to wait out the storm, but each time lightning was detected, that was another 30-minute delay according to rules. Finally after more than 90 minutes, the game was officially suspended. The two teams will finish the season opener, all nine innings, beginning at 6 p.m. tonight at Danville Stadium.

The originally scheduled game for Friday night will now become a seven-inning contest and it will start about 20-30 minutes after the first game — basically creating a doubleheader with 14 innings of baseball.

While this is just the start of the 2019 season, these two teams experienced a very similar situation last year in the Prospect League West Division Playoffs.

“Eric Coleman and I was just talking about that,” said Wampler. “Every time, we play each other, no matter where it is, we have something crazy going on whether it is the weather or extra innings. It’s never dull when we play each other.”

That is probably fitting as these Prospect League rivals play annually for the Branch Rickey Cup.

Coleman, who begins his sixth seasons with Danville, admitted there wasn’t a whole lot to learn about his teams in just two innings.

“It’s so early,” he said. “Blake (Malatestinic) is better than he showed in those first two innings. He just needs to compete a little more in the zone.

"And offensively, we got a little long with our swings. We have to make that adjustment swinging with the wood bats.”

The Rex got its first run of the season as leadoff batter Justin Jenkins drilled a pitch to center field that one-hopped the wall for a triple. Ethan Hunter followed with an RBI groundout and Terre Haute had the lead.

In the second, Terre Haute added another run when Austin Weller scored on a sacrifice fly to center from Jacob Mulcahy.

Danville did get four base runners in the first two innings against Terre Haute starter Clayton Mayfield.

Wes Toups drew a leadoff walk, but two pitches later, he was thrown out trying to steal second. Walker McCleney followed with a walk and Brad Powers had a two-out single to right in the opening frame. The Dans would fail to score as Ryan Archibald struck out swinging.

In the second inning, Max Goldberg reached with a one-out single to left, but he was stranded at first as Jalen Jones and Marcel Bacheller flew out to end the inning


Current score — Terre Haute Rex 2, Danville Dans 0 in third inning

Key player — Terre Haute outfielder Justin Jenkins is 1-for-2 with a triple and a run scored.

Up next — The Rex and Dans will conclude the season opener at 6 p.m. with a seven-inning contest to follow.

Probable starters — Terre Haute: LHP Foster Anshutz (0-0, 0.00 ERA); Danville: RHP R.J. Kuruts (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Posted 235 weeks ago

Dans 2019 Skills Camp Dates

Baseball Skills Camps
It’s Fun & Fundamentals

Imagine the excitement your son or daughter will have with after spending the morning with a professional baseball coaching team. Envision the motivation your little one will gain as he or she spends time with successful college students.

The Dans Baseball Camp features top-notch instruction in hitting, defense, pitching and teamwork. It is ideal for players looking for a well-rounded experience in baseball instructions, including drills, mechanics and strategies.

This training program is designed to improve your player’s skills. You’ll see the results on game day and skills evaluation day.

June 26-27

July 1-3

July 9-10

All sessions run 9 am - 12 noon at Danville Stadium.

Questions about the Danville Dans Baseball Camps?
Email: dansbaseball1@gmail.com or call 217-918-3401.

Click here to download the registration form. 

Posted 237 weeks ago