DANVILLE — In baseball lingo, a double play is considered the pitcher’s best friend.
But, in reality, a good all-around defense is the lifeblood of every pitching staff and on Tuesday night, Danville used an exceptional defensive effort to defeat Butler 5-2 in the opening contest of a six-game homestand before 1,101 at Danville Stadium.
“We played great defense and Dalton (Lundeen) pitched a great game for us,’’ said Danville Dans manager Eric Coleman. “We want the opposing teams to put the ball in play and we trust our defense to make plays behind him.’’
The Dans, which improved to 9-8 in the Prospect League’s West Division, turned three all-important double plays in the contest, but no one was more important than the first as center fielder Derek Herrington gunned down Butler catcher Russell Clark trying to score on a fly ball to center.
“Derek showed off his arm right there and that’s why he is going to be fine Division I player,’’ Coleman said. “We want to be strong up the middle defensively and we are with him in center.’’
That toss allowed Lundeen to maintain a 1-0 lead and the left-hander from Valparaiso went on to toss seven shutout innings as he improved to 2-1 on the season.
“Derek helped me out a lot when he made that big throw in the third inning,’’ Lundeen said. “It felt good tonight and it’s a lot easier to do when you get ahead of people.’’
Lundeen also ended his night with inning-ending double play as first baseman Keith Shumaker started a 3-6-3 twin killing in the seventh.
“That’s the pitcher’s best friend,’’ said Lundeen, who struck out four and walked just one in his seven frames. “Keith made a great play on that last one.’’
And both Lundeen and Coleman admit having a good defense is vital to good pitching.