DANVILLE — Successful programs can basically do whatever they want.
So on Tuesday night, the Danville Post 210 Speakers showed off their new alternate jerseys in an 8-3 victory over Rantoul Post 287 at Gruber Park.
Instead of the tradition blue and gold colors of Post 210, the Speakers came out in a brand new orange and green uniform with “The Ville” in script across their chests.
“Those are my pickings,’’ said Danville manager Allan Shepherd, admitting that he chose those colors as a University of Miami fan. “I was talking with Chase Vinson and a couple of our older guys about going with a alternate jersey with our adidas sponsorship. We don’t see orange and green anywhere and I like it. I like it a lot.’’
Shepherd admitted that Danville Post 210 junior coach Rob Ruch doesn’t like them.
“That makes me like them even more,’’ Shepherd added.
And how do the players like them?
“I like the color,’’ said Post 210 shortstop Ernest Plummer. “I think we should do all of our uniforms in orange and green. I like these better than our blue and yellow.’’
Dalton Dalbey, the winning pitcher for Danville on Tuesday, agreed, but he had one small problem.
“I just need a new hat,’’ said Dalbey, who wore the orange and black of Westville when he pitched in high school. “Shep didn’t order me a special hat. I need an extra small/small and he only had a small/medium.’’
“He threw well enough, we will just get it stitched up a little tighter for him,’’ said Shepherd as Dalbey struck out five in four innings and allowed just two runs.
Tuesday was the home opener for the Speakers, who improved to 3-0, as they are coming off back-to-back Sweet 16 finishes in the American Legion National Tournament. Danville is a two-time runnerup in the Great Lakes Regional.
And while they officially qualified for last year’s regional tournament as the runner-up in the Illinois State Tournament, that changed over the winter.
The American Legion National Office declared Danville as the co-state champions with Mount Prospect, who left the state tournament before it completion with the state championship trophy.
“I actually got a call about it during the regional tournament last year, but I just wanted to focus on trying to make it to the Legion World Series,’’ Shepherd said. “The National Office made it as right as they could.
“As I told the guys on that team, “it didn’t feel like a state championship at the time, but in 20 years, you will still be a state champion and that’s all that matters.’”
Ironically, Danville reached the title game of the Great Lakes Regional, while Mount Prospect lost both of its game at the regional tournament.
“That made things feel a little better,’’ Shepherd said.
Plummer was still upset that Danville didn’t get an opportunity to play for the title.
“There was no reason that we couldn’t have played for the championship,’’ he said. “Thankfully, we got what we deserved at the end.’’
Shepherd added, “no disrespect to the Mount Prospect kids. Those were adult decisions and it didn’t look good for Legion Baseball.’’
So what is Post 210 looking for this season?
“We want to make it to the regionals again,’’ said Dalbey, as Danville is looking for its fourth straight trip to the Great Lakes Regional, which will be held in Charleston this summer.
“Our bats are going to come more alive as the season progresses and we already have a good solid defense and a good pitching staff.’’
“This group is clicking early on,’’ he said, noting that Rantoul is one of the top teams in the Fourth Division. “Right now, everyone is accepting that I’m still trying to figure out where everyone needs to play on a regular basis.’’
One thing that Shepherd has learned is that Mason Ecker did well in the leadoff spot on Tuesday.
He went 2-for-4 with a 3-run homer to left field in the fifth inning that gave Danville an 8-2 lead.
That was the big blow for an offense that was very balanced as Logan Spicer went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Danville 10, Rantoul 0
TILTON — Three pitchers combined to toss a no-hitter for the Danville Post 210 Junior Gold Speakers in Tuesday’s second game at Gruber Park.
Derek Drayer, Garrett Drake and Dawson Parker combined to blank Rantoul 10-0. The trio combined for five strikeouts in the victory.
Josh Young and Nick Coffin each finished with two RBIs for the Junior Gold Speakers with nine different players each had at least one hit for Danville.