The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Sports

June 18, 2014

Defense carries Danville

Dans turn three double plays in victory over BlueSox

(Continued)

“It’s makes it easier to be confident,’’ Lundeen said. “Because you know if you make a mistake, which happens sometimes, you know the defense can pick up with a solid play.’’

The captain of the defense has been shortstop Austin Bryant. The senior-to-be from Middle Tennessee State has made several highlight-worthy plays already this season and he was a part of two double plays in Tuesday’s game. The second one came in the ninth as he handled a bad hop, made the quick throw to second baseman Cody Gardner, who made the relay for the two outs.

“I think Austin Bryant is one of the best shortstops in the league, if not the best,’’ Coleman said. “He made some big-time plays for us tonight. We tell our pitchers to pitch to contact, and they are not afraid to do it because our defense is making plays behind them.’’

Bryant quickly deflected any praise, saying that the entire team is playing really good defense right now.

“Derek made a pretty big play in center, Ronnie (Jebavy) has made some big plays in left and Paddy O’Brien is probably one of the best catchers that I’ve played with. He has an unreal arm,’’ Bryant said. “That’s one of the strengths of this team.

“The three double plays and the big home run in the second inning (by O’Brien) probably won us this game.’’

But Bryant didn’t included his pivotal two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning that gave the Dans a 3-0 lead.

“Austin got a pitch that he could drive there,’’ Coleman said. “It was a 3-2 pitch, we had our guys moving and he laced the ball into the gap.’’

In his first 11 games with the Dans, Bryant is batting .400 with nine RBIs. That’s just the type of summer he was hoping for when he came to Danville.

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