TILTON — Danville Post 210 rolled its way in the championship game of the TB24 Memorial Tournament with a strong offensive attack.
The Speakers scored 52 runs in three victories with 43 hits and 21 walks.
But, this tournament is named after former Danville Post 210 pitching coach and former hurler Tyler Brennan, and while he appreciated a great offensive performance — his true love was always that shutdown pitching.
The Speakers claimed the 2016 state championship as they allowed just eight runs in four games.
On Saturday afternoon, Danville left-hander Jake Stipp paid the perfect compliment to Brennan — he struck out 11 in a complete-game victory that was just one strike from being a complete-game shutout.
“There isn’t a better way for us to win this tournament than that performance by Stipp,’’ Danville manager Allan Shepherd said. “TB would have been pumping his chest out after that performance.
“This is big to me — it’s as big as our Division titles.’’
That was very evident as Danville first baseman Chase Vinson, one of only two players on the Speakers current roster that played for Brennan, tightly gripped the championship trophy, only letting go long enough to sign a game ball that will be presented to Brennan’s family.
“It’s very emotional for us because he was our coach and his name is on this trophy — we didn’t want to see it go anywhere else,’’ said Vinson, who went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. “The impact that he had on this program is still here for everyone to see.’’
As there are reminders all around Gruber Park, from his No. 24 on the light pole in left-center to his famous sayings “throw it, out here and finish” that are on signs in the home team bullpen.
“Everyone on this team understood how important this trophy is for Shep (Shepherd) and the rest of the coaches,’’ said Vinson, noting that coached Dylan Marble and Noah Nelson played for Brennan, while Tyler McKenzie played with Brennan and assistant coach Brent Vinson was a coach with Brennan.
Stipp admitted that Saturday’s outing was one of better ones of the summer, but in an almost uncanny way, he also seemingly said something that Brennan would have said after his performance.
“I was finally able to throw strikes and that is a big plus,’’ said Stipp, who only walked two in the seven innings. “I would have liked to keep the walks down even more.
“The goal is always zero.’’
At one point, Stipp retired 12 straight Charleston batters — seven of them on strikeouts. And he seemingly was well on his way to a complete-game, shutout.
With two outs in the seventh and a 2-2 count on Charleston catcher Zach Hill, Stipp left a pitch up and over the plate.
Hill lined a home run off of the top of the right-field fence for a solo home run.
“I was just challenging them, and hitting my spots as best as I could,’’ said Stipp of his strong finish. “I was fortunate, they were not able to make contact, except for that one pitch.’’
Danville had right-hander Ryan Drayer warming up in the bullpen, but Stipp kept him right there. He struck out Charleston’s Dayton Simpson to end the game and it was his 11th of the contest.
“Stipp was really good,’’ said Shepherd, admitting that he wanted to see the lefty get the complete game. “It was also very gutsy as hot as it was today. He almost hit the max on his pitch count.’’
Stipp finished with 104 pitches — 65 were for strikes.
“We have worked with him on pacing himself better,’’ Shepherd said. “He got ahead better in the count and he paced himself.’’
Danville got all the offense it would need in the first inning as three straight singles by Ernest Plummer, Kotah Broeker and Chase Rademacher resulted in two runs for the Speakers.
But, Post 210 was clinging to a 3-0 lead heading in the sixth inning.
That’s when Danville sent nine batters to the plate, scoring five times — the last three crossing the plate when Noah Ruch blasted a 3-run homer to right.
“We didn’t score as many runs as we have in other games of this tournament, but we still had a solid offensive game,’’ said right fielder Lucas Hofer, who went 3-for-3 with a run scored.
Saturday’s victory is the fifth straight in the month of July for Danville and it was the team’s first completed tournament of the summer.
“It seems like every tournament that we’ve played this summer has gotten rained out at some point,’’ Hofer said. “We were lucky to not get any rain this weekend, and it’s nice to see our hard work pay off this week in a title.’’
The TB24 Memorial Tournament was kind of a sneak peak ahead to the Fourth Division Tournament coming up later this month as five of the six teams will be in that tournament.
“We were able to show those teams that we are still one of the teams to beat when we get to the postseason,’’ Vinson said.
Shepherd said the seedings will come out this next week.
“I expect us to be one of the top seeds, if not the top seed,’’ he said.
The teams that will compete for the Fourth Division title will be Champaign, Charleston, Danville, Decatur, Eureka, Ford/Iroquois, Mattoon, Moultrie/Douglas, Piatt County, Rantoul and Shelby County.