DANVILLE — Brett Nielsen left his home in Eugene, Ore. on Wednesday, beginning the 2,176-mile drive to Danville.
After more 30 hours on the road, Nielsen got to Danville Stadium just in time to see the Danville Dans defeat the Terre Haute Rex 8-4 on Friday night.
The left-handed hitting first baseman made his season debut on Saturday and Nielsen went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and he scored the game-winning run on a double by Tyler Selesky in Danville’s five-run fourth inning.
The Dans extended their win streak to five games with a 5-2 victory over the Lorain County Ironmen before a season-high crowd of 2,872 at Danville Stadium.
“I felt like it was important to get here and start playing as soon as possible,’’ said Nielsen, who made the trip from Oregon with his father, Dennis Nielsen. “It felt good to get back in the box, play a game and hit the ball.’’
Nielsen admitted that this is the first time that he has gone on a cross-country road trip.
“It sucked at times, but at other times it was nice because there was stuff to look at,’’ he said. “I’m looking forward to this experience of playing away from home.’’
Before the summer started, Nielsen said he would be playing somewhere.
“I want to throw some innings, and get some at-bats,’’ said Nielsen, who is also a left-handed pitcher. “I just want to get better at both hitting and throwing this summer. Being able to do both was one of the selling points for my coach.’’
He showed everyone, including Danville manager Eric Coleman, that he was ready to play when he lined a double down the left-field line in his first at-bat. The sophomore-to-be from Tacoma Community College followed that with another line drive double down the left-field line to drive home the first run in Danville’s five-run fourth inning.