Jake Powers and Joseph Mortillaro combined on a five-hit shutout as the Quincy Gems defeated the Danville 4-0 in Prospect League baseball action Saturday night at QU Stadium.
Not only was it the second straight loss for the Dans, something the team hasn't encountered since a June 30th doubleheader loss to the Gems, but it was also their first nine-inning game defeat since June 20th.
"That was a pretty good stretch of baseball,'' Danville coach Jason Watson said. "We can't win them all, but we had a really good run.''
Now, Watson wants his team to focus on being that team again in the final nine games and in the postseason tournament.
Since the Prospect League's All-Star Break, the Dans are just 6-4 after they entered the break winning 14 out of 15 in the month of July.
"We talked after the game and I challenged them to be the team that they were at the start of this month,'' said Watson. "That starts with today's game in Springfield.''
With the loss, the Dans (35-16) saw their lead in the Prospect League's West Division shrink to 2.5 games over the Gems (32-18).
Powers, who improved to 6-0, and Mortillaro, who earned his 12th save of the summer, combined for nine strikeouts, but they also walked eight.
"We just didn't swing it very well,'' Watson said. "And then, we also had a few baserunning errors that cost us some opportunities to score. It just wasn't a very good night for the offense.''
Casey Fletcher, the native of Newtown, had the team's only extra base hit with a double, while Spencer Herrmann, Sam Maus, Kyle Kapka and Chad Klein each contributed singles in the losing cause.
Danville starter Troy Conyers, suffered his first defeat of the season (5-1), but it wasn't the first time that Quincy got the big left-hander. In three appearances this year against the Gems, Conyers has surrendered seven earned runs in 17 innings. Against the rest of the Prospect League, the sophomore-to-be from the University of San Diego has thrown 24 scoreless innings.
"Troy didn't throw the ball badly,'' Watson said. "They just hit him pretty good.''
Steven Pallares went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, while Brian Niedbalski had a two-run double to get the scoring started in the third for Quincy.
Danville will continue its four-game, three-day roadtrip today with a 5:05 p.m. contest in Springfield against the Sliders. After that, the Dans have a doubleheader on Monday against the Hannibal Cavemen.
The next home game for the Dans will be Tuesday when they host the Terre Haute Rex. That's the final Two-Buck Tuesday at Danville Stadium with admission, hot dogs and beverages all costing $2.
Huls, Blaylock reach finals of Greater Danville Open
DANVILLE — Tournament play started on Saturday in the Greater Danville Open with quarterfinal and semifinal play in seven divisions.
In the men's open singles, Adam Huls and Cameron Blaylock will meet up for the title after easily winning their semifinal matches.
Huls beat Dylan Pichon, who was taken to the limit by Addison Martin in the quarterfinals, 6-0, 6-0 while Blaylock, a former Danville High player, won 6-1, 6-1 over Mark Gernand. The final is at 8 a.m. today.
The scores in the women's open singles semifinals mirrored the men's open as Lori Haas swept Amanda Vadeboncoeur 6-0, 6-0 while Taylor Ellis defeated Allison Poster 6-1, 6-1.
The rest of the action on Saturday was doubles matches with Mitch Haas and Nathan Burkowski going to the men's open doubles finals with a 7-5, 4-6 (5) win over Huls and Gernand.
In the other semifinal, Tyler Ellis and Colby Clapper, a pair of former Danville High standouts, defeated Dylan Pichon and Kevin Lichtenberger, who won 6-3, 3-6, (11-9) over Colin Wind and Addison Martin in the quarterfinals, by a score of 6-0, 6-0.
In the only women's open doubles semifinal, the team of Jennifer Little and Monica Ribbe defeated Marianne Wilson and Pam Zuhone 6-0, 6-0 to advance to today's final against Rachael and Becca Lewis.
There was also one semifinal in the men's 45 doubles as Rodger Wind and Terry Johnson got past Wes Bieritz and Bill Ice, 5-7, 6-4 (3) to go on to the final, where they will play Jim Persinger and Duane Drollinger.
In the women's 35 doubles semifinals, the team of Shelley Erickson and Jen Watson defeated Norma Truax and Becky Schtecht 6-1, 6-0 while Susie Boudreau and Betsy Porter beat Martha Foster and Ramona Rollins 6-4, 6-2.
In open mixed doubles, Persinger and Poster teamed up to win a quarterfinal matche over Lichtenberger and Becca Lewis 6-3, 3-6 (6) but lost to Mitch and Lori Haas 6-0, 6-0. The Haases will take on the team of Huls and Rachael Lewis, who beat Tyler and Taylor Ellis 6-3, 6-4.
Today's action starts at 8 a.m. with the men's and women's open singles finals along with the women's open doubles and women's 35 doubles. Also at 8 a.m., Terry Johnson will take on Todd Lichtenberger in a men's 45 singles semifinal with the winner taking on Drollinger for the title at 1 p.m.
The men's open and men's 45 doubles finals will be at 10 a.m. with the open mixed doubles title to be decided at noon.
Also, today, there will be three century mixed doubles matches. A century mixed doubles group is where the ages of the two players are at least 100. Marianne and Jim Wilson will take on Pam Zuhone and Bull Wilcox at 10 a.m., Martha Foster and Rodger Wind will play the Wilsons at noon and then Zuhone and Wilcox at 2 p.m.