Admirals get win No. 25 in decisive fashion
By JOE MATHIS
All year long Danville’s offense has been led by its three and four hitters.
It was no different Tuesday night, as Ethan Wood and Cayden Shaver, the state’s top two home-run hitters, each went deep in an 11-1, run-rule win over Madison Southern.
And it didn’t take long for the Ads bats to get rolling.
After a scoreless first inning, Wood — who also pitched for the Admirals — worked around a one out error, stolen base and wild pitch to strand a runner on third in the top of the second. From there, Danville’s offense would put the game away.
Preston Barnes and Bryson Young — two of five Freshman that started for Danville — began the second inning with back to back walks. Freshman Jaden Larmour laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt down the third base line to move them into scoring position.
The fourth straight freshman to bat, Riley Lark, laid down what was supposed to be a safety squeeze. The bunt was placed so perfectly, though, that not only did it score Barnes from third to give Danville a 1-0 lead, Lark’s speed forced the Madison Southern third baseman to hurry the throw. Lark beat it out as the throw scooted down the right field line, promptly scoring Young as well to give the Admirals a 2-0 lead.
From there, the rout was on.
Lark was the first of seven-straight Admirals to reach base. He was followed by an Austin Mott walk, a Brennan Washington walk, a Jacob Crank double, a Wood single, Shaver’s ninth home-run of the season and a Barnes single.
That frame put Danville up 8-0 allowing the Ads to cruise to a victory.
“To see the offense come out and have some good at bats and put up some runs is a plus,” Danville head coach Paul Morse said. “We haven’t had the best offense going the past few games. We hadn’t been getting those hits with two outs and runners in scoring position and we were able to do that today.”
Wood was just as sharp on the mound as well.
He went the distance, going five innings, allowing only three hits, one earned run and striking out five. He also didn’t let his teammate Shaver get too close to his state home-run lead.
Two innings after Shaver hit his ninth homerun to put him in a tie for second in the state and just one behind his freshman teammate, Wood laced a line drive to left field that cleared the fence. That blast gave him his 11th home run, which cushioned his state lead back to two over his teammate and gave Danville a 9-0 lead.
“We’ve been competing all year,” Wood laughed while discussing the friendly competition between Shaver and himself. “We compete on home runs and RBIs and it seems like anytime I miss on one he comes up and hits one later in the game.”
Madison Southern’s lone run came in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Titus Haskins, but all that did was delay the inevitable.
Danville loaded the bases to begin the bottom of the fifth, then Lark was balked home to make it 10-1 and Jacob Crank roped a single to left to score Mott and walk the Admirals off 11-1 for their 25th win on the season. It’s the first time Danville has won 25 games in a season since 2012.
They also have two more regular-season games scheduled, meaning there’s a possibility the Admirals could get to 27 wins by the end of the regular season and put the chance to win 30 in their sights — that is, if they can win some games in the district and region tournament.
“We talked about that the other day,” Morse said. “You have a chance to do something (win 30 games) that has been done only a handful of times the past 30 years. But whether we win our last two regular season games or lose, the big thing is being ready for Monday and getting ready for the district tournament.”
After the scheduled Thursday and Friday regular season games, Danville will play Garrard County Monday at 5:30 in the first round of the district tournament.