Pitching depth was a strength of the Danville Area Community College baseball team all season.
That strength was put to the test this weekend in the NJCAA Region 24 Tournament at Lanphier Park in Springfield.
After losing the opening game of the tournament to Lincoln Land College (5-2), DACC won four straight elimination games to reach the championship game against the third-rated and top-seeded Heartland Hawks.
Needing to win twice to reach the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, the Jaguars just simply ran out of gas against the Hawks, who advanced to their second straight National Tournament with a 13-3 victory.
“We couldn’t ask for anything more from our kids,’’ Danville Area Community College coach Tim Bunton said. “We said that we wanted to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season and I think we did.
“Unfortunately, we lost that first game. It was a good game, but it gave us a real uphill battle. The kids accepted that challenge and made it all the way to the title game.’’
Along the way to the title game, DACC defeated Parkland, a team it lost to four times this season, and Illinois Central, a team that beat DACC three out of four.
But as Bunton pointed out, DACC played four nine-inning games in a span of 28 hours.
“We were on fumes,’’ he said. “And Heartland is the No. 3 rated team in the nation for a reason.’’
DACC reached the title game with a 10-6 win over Illinois Central on Sunday.
Sophomore Michael Walker had four hits and two RBIs in that contest, while Aaron Kuper and Tyler McKenzie also contributed two RBIs. Alec Neal was the winning pitcher for the Jaguars.
In the championship game against Heartland, Walker had two more hits and an RBI, while Evan Block had a two-run homer in the ninth for DACC, which finishes its year at 34-21.
WEST LEBANON, Ind. — Dakota Ware belted his third grand slam of the season as the Patriots crushed the Hornets in their regular-season finale.
Ware, who went for 2-for-2 with three runs scored and five RBIs, was also credited with the win for Seeger.
Rossville scored all six of its runs in the third inning, but Seeger came back with a six-run inning of its own and the Patriots put the game away with a seven-run fourth.
Jordan Stover led the Seeger attack with three hits and three RBIs. Also collecting multiple hits for the Patriots were Zach Stitt, Avery Acton, Jake Fell and Stephen Schall.
Seeger, which improved to 19-7, will open Sectional Tournament play on Thursday against Fountain Central at Delphi. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (EASTERN).