It was a night of firsts for a pair of Danville Dans.
Chad Klein’s first-ever walk-off home run gave Danville a 5-3 victory in the suspended game and winning pitcher Mitch Holtz also garnered the win in the nightcap as the Dans beat the Hannibal Cavemen 3-1.
“That was definitely my first one ever,’’ said Klein, who has hit just one collegiate home run in two years at Heartland Community College in Normal. “It’s a great feeling, there is nothing like it.’’
And even though, he’s only hit one long ball in the past two years, Klein knew he had the game-winner when he connected on the 1-2 pitch from Hannibal’s Zane Hemond.
“Well, the wind was blowing out and I knew I hit it well,’’ Klein said.
Ironically, Klein’s blast capped the Dans victory in a game that started on Saturday, June 1 at Danville Stadium.
“I wasn’t even in Danville on that day,’’ said Klein, who was eligible to play in the suspended game under Prospect League rules. “I was still playing with Heartland at the NJCAA Division II World Series on that date.’’
Klein, who replaced Justin Stawychny in the lineup from that game on June 1, actually went 2-for-2 for the Hawks on that date.
“I had a pair of infield singles,’’ he said. “I got to play one inning in right field, than I got one at-bat and the game is over. That’s pretty fun.’’
Klein openly admits that is his not normally a home run hitter.
“I know that I have the power to hit one out, but it will never be a regular occurrence for me,’’ he said.
And that’s just fine with Danville coach Jason Watson.
“He put a good swing on it, timed it up and came through for us,’’ Watson said. “Guys struggle when they think they are home run hitters.
“You need to have a good approach, and look to get your pitch to hit. When you square it up, that’s when home runs are hit.’’
Holtz, who threw one scoreless inning of relief on June 1 before a thunderstorm swept through Danville Stadium, also had a scoreless inning on Wednesday to get his second victory of the season.
“Coach (Watson) asked me on Tuesday, if I wanted to keep going since I was the pitcher in the game at the time of the suspension,’’ Holtz said. “When we talked about it, he said that depending on how much I threw, we would see about the second game.’’
With only 20 minutes between games, Watson sent Holtz back out to the mound in the regularly-scheduled nine-inning contest for his first collegiate start.
Holtz, a sophomore-to-be from the University of Pennsylvania, tossed five shutout innings, allowing just three hits, walking none and striking out six.
“It was my first start since my senior year in high school,’’ said Holtz, who is from Plainfield and went to Aurora Christian. “Initially, I thought being a normal reliever that I would be able to go like three innings. But, I caught a rhythm and I didn’t want to come out of the game.
“At the end, I could tell that I was starting to wear down. The bullpen came in and did a great job.’’
Jon Rashid, Miles Nordgren and Trey McNickle took care of the final four frames, allowing just a run in the ninth as Danville won its fourth straight, improving to 14-9 overall.
With the two victories, the Dans are tied for second in the Prospect League’s West Division with Terre Haute, two games behind Quincy.
“Two more wins at home are huge,’’ Watson said. “We are starting to come around from pitching to defense and we’re getting the hits as well.
“If you’re not in first, you want to stay as close as possible. We have to focus on the now rather than what could be in the future.’’
And how about using Holtz as a starting pitcher in the future?
“He threw it really well, but right now, I think we’ll keep him in the bullpen,’’ Watson said. “I was actually going to start someone else in the second game, but he only threw one inning and we had the short break in between games.’’
Holtz said that he wants to do what’s best for the team, but admitted he would accept the challenge of being a starter.
“It would be nice. I don’t get that opportunity at school,’’ he said. “At least, they know that if they need someone to make a spot start later in the season, I can be their man.’’
And maybe he could get a another opportunity to get two wins in one day.
“That was a cool experience,’’ he said. “That’s not going to happen very often.’’
It was a night of firsts for a pair of Danville Dans.
- Going the extra mile BISMARCK — Bismarck-Henning coach Mark Dodd has really enjoyed the last few years.Not just because of the two straight Vermilion Valley Conference titles and a almost three-year unbeaten run in regular season action, but because of working with playe
- LOCAL ROUNDUP: Trojans defeat Chargers in volleyball opener CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. — It took all five sets but the Covington Lady Trojans opened the year with a hard-fought 24-26, 25-22, 25-21, 19-25, 16-14 victory over the North Montgomery Chargers in prep volleyball action on Tuesday night.Brooke Ahrens led t
- Patriots make changes WEST LEBANON, Ind. – Success for the Seeger Patriot football team this season will depend on two things.They will rely on technique and teamwork to reach their goals.“We’ve got a little bit of size, a little bit of speed and a few guys with a lot of
- B-H's Warren claims Urbana Kick-Off Classic URBANA — Bismarck-Henning’s David Warren kicked off his senior season in style, winning the Urbana Kick-Off Classic at the Urbana Country Club.Warren shot a 4-over 76 to earn a one-stroke victory over Champaign Centennial’s Isaac Overman (77), while
- Trying to fill big holes CAYUGA, Ind. — Brayden Woodard and his senior teammates on the 2013 North Vermillion football team left their mark on the Wabash River Conference.The Falcons won back-to-back undefeated league titles and they enter this season with a 15-game winning
- New names, same goals VEEDERSBURG, Ind. — While the names might change, the goals and expectations for the Fountain Central football team remain the same.The Mustangs, who went 11-2 last year with a sectional championship, are looking to replace 60 percent of their offens
- Trojans' experience could be key COVINGTON, Ind. – The Covington football team enters this season on a positive note. The Trojans lost only five seniors to graduation, so team hopes to build on its many returning players.“We’re a year old and stronger,” said Covington head coach Tra
- Voles set to host Jamboree DANVILLE — For the eighth year, the Vermilion Voles Vintage Base Ball club will invite other clubs in the Midwest to Kennekuk County Park on Saturday for the “Uncle Joe” Cannon Base Ball Jamboree.The event will feature four teams with the Voles, the
- No Headline Provided HELP WANTEDThe Danville Commercial-News is seeking sports-minded individuals to cover local sporting events this school year. An individual should have their own transportation, and be able to work nights and weekends.Anyone interested in the opportu
- Young Vikings get started DANVILLE — For the second year in a row, high school football teams in Illinois have had to make a change in their preseason practice schedules.A year ago, the IHSA developed a new policy when it came to acclimatization period of early-season practic
- More Sports Headlines