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.