BY CHAD DARE
Playing at home has its advantages.
For the Danville Dans, it means no long bus rides and seeing some familiar faces in the crowds at Danville Stadium.
On Wednesday night, the Dans extended their home win streak to six games with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the Quincy Gems in the first game of a Prospect League doubleheader.
Their winning streak was snapped in the second game, as the Quincy Gems scored eight times in the second inning en route to a 9-2 victory over Danville.
“It seems like every team that I’ve been a part of in baseball has had a better record at home,” Danville manager Jason Watson said. “In this case, I think the guys enjoy playing here in front of a great fan base at Danville Stadium.”
Danville infielder Drew Buddle, who had the game-winning two-out, two-run single in the opener, said there are some definite advantages of playing at home in the Prospect League.
“First off, you don’t have to ride a bus for three hours before and after the game,” he said. “It’s nice to just show up at the park and play the game.
“I also think that we’ve gotten to know the people in the community pretty well and we enjoy playing the game in front of them. The support that we get here at home is outstanding.”
The game-winning hit for Buddle in the sixth inning was the fourth time this season that he has driven in the winning run for the Dans, who fall to 10-8 overall.
“It’s every player dream to be in a situation where they can deliver the game-winning hit,” said Buddle, who admitted that he also had a few game-winning hits this spring at Lewis University. “I wouldn’t say that it gives me confidence in those situations. I just think that I don’t get worried when I’m in that spot.”
Danville got all of its offense in the sixth inning started when Chad Klein reached on an error, followed by a single to right by Sam Maus, who advanced to second on a wild pitch by Quincy pitcher Austin Tribby, who suffered the loss.
Buddle worked the count to 3-2 before delivering his single to right-center.
“That was a good win,” Watson said. “Buddle had an opportunity and he came through.”
Quincy rallied from a 4-0 deficit with a five-run fourth inning as the Gems (12-6) had five hits – three of them doubles – off Danville starter Zach Gordon.
“Zach threw it well, but he just ran into trouble in that one inning,” Watson said.
Miles Nordgren, who threw a perfect seventh inning, earned the victory for the Dans.
In the second game, Quincy once again strung together a big inning, but this time it was more than enough.
The Gems scored eight runs, all with two outs, against the Dans’ starter Jon Rashid. Quincy’s big inning started with back-to-back walks.
“Quincy is a good hitting team and they can string together some hits,” Watson said. “The walks to start the inning put us in the hole and we just couldn’t get ourselves out of it.”
Danville did come back with two runs in the fourth on a two-run single by Casey Fletcher, but the Dans were held to just four hits by Quincy pitchers Brandon Ley and Logan Blair.
The Dans are back at home tonight with a 6:30 p.m. contest against the Prospect League’s West Division Leader, the Terre Haute Rex.
Matt Brandys will take the mound for Danville, while Terre Haute will counter with Kyle Zimmerman.