DANVILLE — Cade Brown was a highly successful two-way player in high school days at Cathedral Catholic in San Diego, Calif.
But when the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder took the field this spring for the University of San Diego Torreros it was as a pitcher only.
Brown made 19 appearances for USD, including three starts. He was 2-1 with a 7.22 ERA.
So when San Diego sent Brown to Danville this summer, the Torreros coaching staff was hoping that he could get time as both a pitcher and a hitter.
After two scoreless relief appearances this summer, Brown got his first opportunity to swing the wooden bats on Wednesday night and boy, did he swing the bat.
Brown went 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs as the Danville Dans rallied from 3-0 deficit to beat the Lafayette Aviators 6-3 before an announced crowd of 386 at Danville Stadium.
"I didn't hit much this spring, so I came in here with a clear mind and trying to focus on doing well at the dish as well as on the mound,'' Brown said. "I guess it paid off tonight. I'm excited to keep doing both for the rest of the summer.''
Coleman said that's exactly what his school wants him to do this summer.
"They want him to hit and we will give him that opportunity,'' Coleman said. "He is also going to get the start on Sunday, but we need to keep getting that bat in the lineup.
"We needed a spark tonight and he provided it.''
Brown admitted that he didn't expect to hit one homer, let alone two.
"I was just kicking off the rust and things went the way that they did — better than I expected,'' he said. "We were down three runs and I just knew that I had to drive in a run. I didn't get most of the barrel on it, but I knew for the ball flight that it had a chance.''
His first home run allowed Danville to close the deficit with Lafayette to 3-2 in the sixth inning. His second homer in the eighth inning, which was blasted deep into the night, helped extend the team's lead.
The Dans (4-2) actually took the lead with a two-run seventh inning.
Louisiana State University freshman-to-be Wes Toups delivered the go-ahead hit for Danville with a two-run double into the large right-center field gap, as Lafayette's center fielder Mason Sykes was playing Toups to hit the opposite way with runners on second and third.
"I normally try to go away with a lot of pitches,'' Toups said. "But in that situation, I'm trying to get the runner in from third base. So, I'm looking to put the barrel on the ball and pull it.
"I got a good pitch to hit and I didn't miss it.''
After being held scoreless in the first five innings, Danville came back to win with two runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
"Our pitchers did a great job of holding them there at three runs,'' Toups said. "We were hitting the ball hard the whole game. It just seemed like our offense turned on there late in game — at the right time.''
Danville starter R.J. Kuruts didn't figure into the decision as he allowed three runs — only two were earned — in sixth innings.
Tanner Green picked up the victory with two shutout innings of relief, while Ryan Patel earned his first save with a scoreless ninth.
The Dans will play the Aviators again tonight and Friday, but those games will be at Loeb Stadium in Lafayette.
Danville Dansdraft update
On the final day of the Major League Baseball Draft, four more former Danville Dans got the call joining LSU shortstop Josh Smith, a second-round pick of the New York Yankees (pick 67), and University of San Diego second baseman Jeff Houghtby, a 10th-round pick of the San Francisco Giants (pick 296). Both Smith and Houghtby were members on the 2016 team for the Danville Dans.
In the 13th round on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays chose Zach Huffins, a 2018 member of the Danville Dans with the 398 pick. Huffins set Prospect League records with 44 stolen bases and seven triples.
"It's an unreal experience to get that call,'' said Huffins, who attended Wednesday's game at Danville Stadium with his father Chris Huffins. "It's a pretty awesome feeling.''
Huffins admitted that he had a good feeling going into the draft.
"I had talked to several teams and Tampa Bay was probably the one that I talked with the most,'' said Huffins, who played for Arizona Western College.
Four rounds later, the Atlanta Braves chose Alec Barger with the 517th pick. Barger, who played for Champaign Central, was a junior this past year at North Carolina State. The right-handed pitcher was both an outfielder and pitcher for the Danville Dans in the 2017 season.
Mason Doolittle, a catcher from Palm Beach Community College, was the next former Danville Dan to get selected on Wednesday, going to the Washington Nationals with the 543rd pick in the 18th round. Doolittle, who originally went to Louisiana State, was also a member of the 2017 Danville Dans.
Finally, Jimmy Govern, a third-team All-American this season from Eastern Illinois University, was selected with the 889th pick in the 30th round by the Kansas City Royals. Govern, who was a senior this year for the Panthers, batted .326 with 16 homers and 52 RBIs. He was also a member of the 2017 Danville Dans.
DANS ON DECK
Final score — Danville Dans 6, Lafayette Aviators 3
Key player — Danville first baseman Cade Brown went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Up next — The Dans hit the road for Loeb Stadium in Lafayette to continue the four-game series with the Aviators. First pitch tonight is set for 7:05 p.m. (Eastern).
Probable starters — Danville: LHP Dawson Sweat (1-0, 6.75 ERA); Lafayette: RHP Nathaniel Tate (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Next home game — The Dans will return to Danville Stadium this Saturday for a 6:30 p.m. contest against the Quincy Gems of West Division.
Promotion No. 1 — This Saturday is Veteran and Military Appreciate Night at Danville Stadium. All veterans, reserves and active military get in for free. (Must have military ID.)
Promotion No. 2 — Fireworks after the game.