TOLEDO, Ohio — Experience is something that can’t be taught and can’t be given away.
Eight of the Danville Post 210 Speakers know all too well about the stressful situations involved with a Great Lakes Regional contest.
But right-hander pitcher Gage Romack isn’t one of them. He didn’t get his first taste of this stage until he recorded the final three outs on Wednesday of the Speakers 7-3 victory over the Napoleon (Ohio) River Bandits.
On Thursday, he faced the toughest situation for any relief pitcher.
Romack came into Thursday’s contest against Terre Haute with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the seventh of a 2-2 tie.
The senior-to-be from Salt Fork High School proceeded the No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the Terre Haute lineup on 16 pitches, sending the contest into extra innings.
“Gage Romack came up huge,’’ said Danville starting pitcher Noah Nelson, who allowed 2 runs — only 1 earned — in six innings, while walking two and striking out five. “We were up against it there and he just got the job done.’’
Those three strikeouts also lit a fire under the Post 210 offense. The Speakers scored three times in the top of the eighth to claim a 5-2 victory over Terre Haute, advancing Danville into tonight’s 5:30 p.m. contest against Midland (Mich.)
“That was probably the biggest moment that Romack has ever faced and he just took the ball and got the job done,’’ Danville manager Allan Shepherd said. “We were wondering at the start of the year about who was going to be our closer. There is no doubt any more.’’
Shepherd admitted that his team was a little flat in a game that was twice stopped for lightning delays.
“I don’t know why, but everything changed in the bottom of the seventh,’’ Shepherd said. “They were fired up and it showed.’’
Austin Littleton led off the eight with a single and he advanced to second a sacrifice by Ernest Plummer.
Nelson, who had been 0-for-2 at the plate, drilled a triple to right-center, easily scoring Littleton.
Danville added two insurance runs on a RBI fielder’s choice by Skylar Bolton and an RBI single by Chase Vinson.
“I thought we were doing a decent job of getting the barrel to the baseball, but we just didn’t get rewarded with hits,’’ Nelson said. “With the momentum of getting into extra innings, it was like our bats responded as well.’’
The Speakers tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth on an RBI single from Vinson; and they actually took a 2-1 lead in the sixth on an RBI single by Bolton.
Terre Haute tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run from Cameron Cook.
Terre Haute falls in the consolation bracket and play Eau Claire (Wis.) in an elimination game at 3 p.m.
While Danville gets a rematch with Midland (Mich.) at 5:30 p.m. Midland defeated Danville in the championship game of last year’s Great Lakes Regional.
Mt. Prospect, the Illinois State Champion, was eliminated on Wednesday with an 9-8 loss to Napoleon (Ohio).