DANVILLE — Three weeks ago the Danville Dans brought 27 players together from 21 different colleges.
On Thursday night, the bonds of a team were put to the ultimate test in pair of extra-inning contests against the Hannibal Cavemen in a Prospect League doubleheader at Danville Stadium.
After nearly six hours and 17 innings of baseball, the Dans came away with a sweep, beating the Cavemen 7-6 in nine innings during the first game and then Danville posted a 6-5 win in eight innings for the second game.
“It got late very fast,’’ said Danville reliever Mitch Holtz, who got the win in the second game. “We came into the night expecting to play two seven-inning games.
“When the clock struck midnight, we were still playing baseball.’’
That’s right, Danville centerfielder Jake Thomas delivered the game-winning, walk-off double to right-center at 12:15 a.m.
The first game of the doubleheader started at 6:05 p.m.
“It was a very full night,’’ Holtz said. “We’re just glad we got two wins.’’
But what happened in the 6 hours and 10 minutes between the first pitch and Danville infielder Tyler Selesky streaking across home plate with the winning run was the type of stuff that defines good teams.
“These guys are fighters,’’ Danville Dans coach Jason Watson said. “They will not quit until the last out is recorded.
“That’s good to see from a coaching standpoint.’’
And, it’s something that the hometown fans are growing accustomed to seeing from the Dans (7-5).
Danville has won three straight at home — all three were walk-off, extra-inning victories and including a game from June 4th against Springfield, the team has now won four straight extra-inning games at home.
“It’s always fun to win with a walk-off,’’ said Selesky, whose bunt on June 4th led to a throwing error and the Dans 8-7 win over the Sliders.