CHARLESTON — Danville Post 210 doesn't own the rights to the come-from-behind victory in legion baseball.
On Thursday afternoon, the Lyon County (Ky.) Aces nearly gave the Speakers a taste of their own medicine in the Great Lakes Regional at Coaches Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
Lyon County came back from a four-run deficit to tie the contest twice, but the Aces didn't finish the deal.
Instead, Danville center fielder Mason Ecker was hit with a 3-2 pitch from Lyon County pitcher Gabe Board with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Post 210 third baseman Logan Spicer, who got the inning started with a one-out single to center, scored the game-winning run for third base and the Speakers had a 7-6 victory over the Aces.
"A win is a win,'' said Ecker, admitting it was the first time he had gotten hit by a pitch for the game-winning RBI. "That really wasn't what I was expecting when I went up to the plate in that situation.''
Actually, Ecker, who was 1-for-3 with a run scored, was thinking about getting his second hit of the contest.
"In my two previous at-bats, I grounded out and flew out,'' he said. "I just wanted to get another at-bat.''
Danville manager Allan Shepherd said he had a good feeling with Ecker at the plate.
"Mason has been seeing it well and really swinging it well for us,'' Shepherd said. "But, honestly, I didn't care how we got the win.''
Actually, Shepherd was hoping that Ecker didn't get to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.
With the bases loaded and one out in that frame, Shepherd called for the suicide squeeze from left fielder Jake Stipp, who successful executed a squeeze in Wednesday's win over Swoyersville (Ohio).
Stipp's bunt bounced down the third-base line with Spicer racing home from third base, but the ball turned left and Lyon County third baseman Kevin Brooks fielded the ball just barely in foul territory.
"It was literally 2 inches off the line,'' said Shepherd, who gives his signals from the third-base coaching box. "It just bounced wrong.''
Shepherd admitted that he almost called it again before Stipp struck out to set up Ecker for his heroics.
"It's not easy when you are in that situation,'' Ecker admitted. "You know there are a lot of people behind you, hoping that you get it done, but there are probably just as many people on the other side, hoping that you don't.
"I've been in that situation before. My goal was just to get on base, because that runner is going to score if you reach. I just knew I had to do whatever I could to win the game.''
The Speakers (33-7-1) found themselves in a tied situation in the bottom of the seventh because of a couple of miscues in the top half of the frame.
Lyon County tied the game at 6-6 when Will Thompson, who drew a two-out walk from reliever Chase Rademacher, scored on a throwing error from Danville right fielder Lucas Hofer.
Hofer's throw was just part of the mixup on a single to right by Kevin Brooks of the Aces. Catcher Trevor Davis was able to knock the throw down and Rademacher wasn't backing up on the play.
"I wasn't where I needed to be,'' said Rademacher, accepting all of the blame. "If I was backing up like I'm supposed to do, we would have kept the runner at third and they would not have tied the game.''
But Shepherd quickly pointed out that Rademacher came right back to get a strikeout on Lyon County's Cameon Head with the go-ahead run in scoring position.
"There are plenty of things that could have been different, but I'm going to focus on the positives,'' he said. "I was hard to Trevor Davis, but he did a great job of coming back and drawing a big walk in the bottom half of the seventh.
"You are not going to get through a tournament like this without some adversity, and I'm glad we got it early and I like how we responded.''
But neither Rademacher or Shepherd were pleased with how Danville let up after building a 5-1 lead after two innings.
"We let up a little bit, and you can't do that,'' he said. "We have been doing that other teams. Getting down early and coming back. Today, we got a lead and we let up.
"It's not fun. We had a bunch of energy early and they took it all away from us.''
Danville and Beverly-Lowell from Ohio, a 10-2 winner over Terre Haute on Thursday, are the only undefeated teams remaining in the double-elimination tournament. They will meet today at 2:30 p.m. with the winner being guaranteed a spot in the championship game.
Beverly-Lowell has scored 23 runs in two tournament wins over Gladwin County (Mich.) on Wednesday and Terre Haute. In Thursday's victory, lefty Tyler Bradford and Brett Gandee combined on a 1-hitter. Terre Haute's only hit came in the seventh.
In elimination games on Thursday, Swoyersville defeated Hempfield East and Gladwin County down Charleston.