BY ROB WITZEL
Coach Gary Gritton along with baseball coaches around Vermillion County have a bone to pick with Mother Nature.
On Tuesday night, the Vikings thought there was a chance to get a game in and started a duel with the Champaign Centennial Chargers. The game didn’t last long however as it was postponed after two full innings with a 2-0 Centennial lead.
“We really wanted to get the game in, Mother Nature just didn’t cooperate,” Gritton said. “Dealing with the weather had been tough for us all spring. It’s been a hard season to get into a flow. Things like trying to get into a game speed, finding at bats, getting our timing down, pitchers getting into a schedule have all been a challenge. It’s been really tough.”
“I always want to play but you can’t control the weather,” Danville catcher Chuckie Robinson added. “We just have to suck it up and wait to play another day.”
The game at Danville Stadium was initially delayed by 50 minutes and it appeared there would be a nice window to work with. But as soon as students from both teams worked together to move the tarps, the rain started with a light drizzle. It wasn’t bad enough to call the game right away, but it was something for home plate umpire Bob Jones to keep an eye on.
Anxious to play Centennial began the first inning with a lot of pop. With three doubles off of Michael Vascura, the Chargers took an early 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Vikings had two runners in scoring position but could not score. Robinson walked, Vascura hit a single and both advanced on a balk. Austin West couldn’t get the RBIs however as he grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Vascura walked the first batter but retired the next three to hold the deficit.
Then in the bottom of the second, Brady Watkins reached first base on an error, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt but that’s as far as he would get as the next two batters couldn’t get a hit.
Before the beginning of the third inning, the umpires met with the coaches behind home plate and the game was postponed.
“The mound was really getting mushy so Bob Jones made the call and I think made the right decision,” Gritton said. “We talked about (when the game will be finished) it’s probably not going to be this week, we talked about maybe a doubleheader at their place. But I don’t really want to do that, plus Centennial has two games tomorrow with a makeup so we squashed that idea. We both have an open week in May so we’ll probably try to come back maybe the third week in May.”
Danville has a very busy week ahead of them. The team will travel to Urbana tomorrow, Centennial on Thursday and then a double header with Bloomington on Saturday. With the lack of pitching depth, Gritton believes that while Tuesday night’s rainout was disappointing, there is a silver lining in that he can possibly use Vascura for another game this week.
“Vascura only threw the two innings, so hopefully he can come back tomorrow or Thursday,” Gritton said. “My biggest fear is that we burned out Mike tonight. We aren’t that deep on the mound so hopefully he’s good to go later this week.”
Weather and field condition permitting Danville Stadium will be the site for the DACC baseball team taking on Parkland in a doubleheader today. The Vikings will return to Danville Stadium next Tuesday to host Mattoon.