BY CHAD DARE
Walk-off wins are becoming routine for the Danville Dans.
For the second game in a row at Danville Stadium, infielder Drew Buddle was the right man in the right spot for the Dans.
Buddle’s sacrifice bunt and the subsequent throwing error by Hannibal pitcher Carl Brice down the right-field line allowed Danville’s Justin Stawychny to score from second base with the winning run in the Dans 7-6 victory over the Hannibal Cavemen in the first game of a Prospect League doubleheader.
“After being up 6-0, it wasn’t our intention to win the game in walk-off style,” said Stawychny, who was 0-for-3 with two runs scored. “But, we were able to get the job done.
“The only thing that matters is that we got the win.”
Stawychny was hit by a pitch to start the ninth inning. Casey Fletcher, who was 1-for-4, followed with a walk setting up Buddle, whose RBI fielder’s choice on Tuesday night gave the Dans a 5-4 win in 10 innings against the Springfield Sliders.
The ninth-inning run for Danville (6-5) was its first tally since scoring six runs in the second and third innings.
Infielder Sam Maus drove home three of those runs with a second-inning sacrifice fly to right and a two-run single in the third.
“Getting run support for pitchers early in the game was a good thing,” said Maus, who was 1-for-2 in the contest. “We are starting to get comfortable at the plate with the wood bats.”
The three RBIs for Maus is a season-high, as the St. Olaf College senior-to-be came into Thursday’s doubleheader with a .167 batting average.
“It’s a good feeling to get a little offense going,” Maus said. “I’m getting a better feel at the plate and I’m seeing the pitches really well.”
After taking a 6-0 lead, Hannibal battled back with four runs in the sixth off of Danville starter Zach Gordon, only two runs were earned in that inning.
Hannibal, which fell to 6-8 with the loss, tied the game in the seventh with two runs, both scoring on Trevor Kenyon’s one-out single to left. Those two runs were scored on Danville reliever Trey McNickle, breaking the team’s 19 consecutive scoreless inning string from its relief pitchers.
Danville reliever Jared Burton struck out Jerod Smith and Derek Fletcher with runners on first and second to get the game into extra innings.
Burton threw 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to get his first victory with the Dans.
The second game of the doubleheader was still in progress when the Commercial-News went to press. The result of that game will be online at www.commercial-news.com
Danville was leading Hannibal 5-4 in the sixth inning.