BY CHAD DARE
The theme of the night for the Danville Post 210 Speakers was established with the first batter.
Clinton (Ind.) Post 140 leadoff hitter Jordan Branz reached when his fly ball was misplayed in right field.
The two-base error was the start of a very bad game for the Speakers.
Clinton scored six unearned runs, including two in the seventh, to beat Danville 6-5 in American Legion baseball game at Danville Stadium.
“We came out real flat and you could tell by all the errors in the first inning,’’ said Danville infielder/pitcher Jake England. “If we don’t have that inning, we would have won that game.’’
Post 210 committed two of their game-high six errors in that first inning, leading to four unearned runs off of starting pitcher Kyle Coburn.
“You are definitely not going to win with six errors. You are probably not going to win with three errors,’’ Danville manager Allan Shepherd said. “We should have beaten that team easily, but we came out flat.’’
That was a discussion that Shepherd had with his team immediately following the loss.
“These guys want to play hard and aggressive after we get behind,’’ he said. “They have to learn to play early, aggressive baseball.’’
Falling behind in the first inning isn’t anything new for the Speakers (10-4).
Danville rallied to take a 5-4 lead, scoring three times in the fifth with Jeff Woods delivering a run-scoring single and Kody Zumwalt, who was 3-for-4 in the game, producing a sacrifice fly.
But, another error in the seventh allowed Clinton to take a 6-5 lead on two-run single by Kam Weyrauch.
“We came back, but we didn’t do enough to hold onto that lead,’’ England said. “We’ve been able to overcome some of our bad starts, but we were just too flat tonight to get the job done.’’
And while Shepherd is very upset with his team, he also realizes that these type of things happen every season.
“I was telling (assistant coach) Shane (Bowling) in the dugout that every year it seems that we have one of these games,’’ Shepherd said. “We talk about it. We have a really good practice after it, and we are usually alright after that.
“We’ll get there. That’s why we are playing these games during the season. We are getting ready for the postseason tournament.’’
Danville, which finished third in the Illinois state tournament a year ago, not only made too many errors on defense.
The Speakers also had a few baserunning miscues and they left nine runners on base.
“We have to execute and do the things that we are supposed to do,’’ Shepherd said. “You can’t leave that many on base and expect to win.
“We also had four or five errors on the base paths. We’re not paying attention, and not being aggressive.’’
Post 210 has a few days to work on its problems. Danville is back in action on Sunday with a doubleheader at Danville Stadium against Paris.