BY ROB WITZEL
The Danville Area Community College Jaguars are not a great hitting team. They’ve heard it, they’ve seen it, and they know it.
“We are a team that doesn’t have a lot of punch,” Jaguar coach Tim Bunton said. “We are who we are and that’s not a great offensive club. That’s not a knock on our guys, I think we know it.”
While hitting has been a struggle, the team has relied on playing small-ball to win tight games. Sunday’s doubleheader encapsulated this theme perfectly as the Jaguars swept the John Wood Community College Trailblazers, winning the first game 3-1 and the second 4-3.
“We are going to have to hit and run, bunt and move people around the bases,” Bunton said. ” When we do these things, we score enough to compete.”
What makes the tactic work so well for Danville has been its great pitching and every player on the field playing great defense.
In Sunday’s first game, Austin Childerson pitched a complete game gem allowing just three hits while collecting eight strikeouts. Jordan Richardson’s outing in Game two wasn’t as dominant but pitched he still pitched well. The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings allowed three runs and gathered three strikeouts. Defensively the Jaguars looked sound with just one error for the entire afternoon.
“Our pitching staff has always been there,” Jaguar first baseman Tyler McKenzie said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games and they’ve always been there to shut them down when they need them too.”
“In order for us to win, we have to pitch and defend, I’ve said it all year,” Bunton said. “For the most part, we pitched well today and defended well. I like this team; we are in a lot of these games and are winning the close ones.”
In Game 1, DACC struck first with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. In the top of the fourth, John Wood scored once to close the gap, but DACC grabbed an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
Game 2 began with an early John Wood lead. Jordan Richardson retired the first two batters, but then walked Frank Moreno. Nay Seldomridge then hit a double that scored Moreno from first.
In the bottom of the third, Danville’s small-ball tactics started to develop. With a walk; a stolen base; a sacrifice bunt; an RBI single; another stolen base, one more single and a fielder’s choice, the Jaguars took control with a 2-1 lead.
Then in the very next inning, DACC started to drive the ball and extended their lead. Austin Hays led off with a double. Then with two outs, Tyler Minogue hit an RBI double followed immediately by an RBI double for Pete Cottrell for a 4-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth the Blazers fought back and closed the deficit to one run with a walk, an RBI double and then an RBI single.
The seventh inning was filled with some excitement as David Anderson stepped onto the mound to close it out but was met with a little adversity.
After striking out the first batter he saw, Ryan Fischer reached on an error. Followed by a single, and a fielder’s choice, John Wood had the tying run on third, the go ahead run on second and the number three hitter at the plate. Despite the stressful situation, Anderson handled it with ease as he struck out Moreno to earn the save and solidify the win.
“I wasn’t worried at all,” McKenzie said. “I have a lot of confidence in Danderson, he’s been in this situation before. I knew he’d throw well and get us the win.”
This win takes the Jaguars to a 23-13 (13-10) record.
DACC will go on the road to play John Wood again today at 2 p.m. in a doubleheader.