DANVILLE — The journey through the summer collegiate baseball season can be a long and arduous process.
Just ask Danville Dans head coach Eric Coleman, who is beginning his sixth season as manager of the club.
The Lafayette Aviators, who have sprinted to a 5-0 start to the 2019 Prospect League season, defeated the Dans 6-2 on Monday evening at Danville Stadium to remain perfect on the young season.
The Dans, who have a host of new players this season from across the country, are still trying to figure things out with their new teammates, and according to Coleman, sometimes that takes some adjusting.
“We have a lot of new players, but some of the places that we are getting these players from are very familiar. For example, the University of San Diego has been good for us through the past few seasons, and we once again have a couple players from that school,” Coleman said about the influx of new players and how the transition is from year to year.
One of those players from San Diego, Max Jung Goldberg, has adapted well since his arrival in Danville, hitting a robust .474 (9-19) so far in the first five games of the season. Goldberg collected three hits for the Dans on Tuesday night, and is enjoying his time with the Dans so far this season.
“I’m just trying to get better and prepare for the fall for when I return for my second year at the University of San Diego. I really enjoy the crowds here (at Danville Stadium) and it’s been a great atmosphere thus far,” Goldberg said about his initial impression of Danville and the fans.
Spotty defense was the main culprit that led to the Dans’ downfall against Lafayette, as three errors opened the door to a quick 6-0 deficit after the top half of the fourth inning.
It wasn’t until the bottom half of the fourth before the Dans were able to dent the scoreboard, as they scored a pair of runs, but left the bases loaded to cut the Aviators’ lead further.
“We left a lot of runners on base tonight, and we need to learn to play catch, because our defense let us down with the three errors. Some positives to take away from the game, however, were that we had runners on in seven of the nine innings, and had seven hits on the night, but it’s all about making a quick turnaround and coming back tomorrow night to play these guys again,” Coleman added regarding the miscues on defense, and the runners left on base.
Blake Malatestinic started the game and went four innings, giving up all six runs, four of which were earned. Reliever Kody Reeser came in to throw five shutout innings in relief to stop the bleeding, but the offense couldn’t hold up their end of the deal and the Aviators closed the game out to notch the win.
“I thought Kody (Reeser) did a good job of keeping us in the ball game, but we couldn’t take advantage of it. They (Lafayette) are a good team, and we’ll bounce back and go at them again tomorrow night,” Coleman said about his reliever and his performance for keeping the Dans in the game.
Malatestinic suffered the loss for the Dans (3-2), who lost for the first time in the past three games. Brendan Reid got the win for Lafayette, who were led on offense by Trey Sweeney, who went 3-4 at the plate, including a double, a pair of runs batted in, and a stolen base.
The Dans will be back in action again today when they once again host the Aviators before switching venues and playing two more against them in Lafayette on Thursday and Friday evening.