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COLLEGIATE BASEBALL: Dans take care of business on Opening Night

May 29—DANVILLE — On the opening night of baseball at Danville Stadium there are things that must happen.

Each team will have their full rosters announced and they will line up the foul lines.

The Danville Police color guard will present the American Flag and the Danville Barbershop Chorus will sing the National Anthem.

Then, of course, any good fan needs to get a hot dog, a cold beverage of their choice and a bag of peanuts.

The final and most important part of the night, the Danville Dans needed to win.

Each item was checked off the list on Tuesday night. Danville used a four-run third inning to defeat the Normal CornBelters 5-1 before 3,643 fans at Danville Stadium to open the Prospect League season.

"What a great way to start the summer," said Danville catcher Josh Davis, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the third inning. "It was a really good atmosphere with the fans and the boys are getting to know each other a little better and we were able to click."

And while it was far from a perfect game, Danville manager Eric Coleman in his 10th baseball season with the Dans saw more things that he liked than he disliked.

"I'm satisfied," he said. "There are always things that you can work on and get better. That's why these guys are here.

"It was a good win in front of a big crowd. We always want to protect the house, and that started tonight."

Danville's four-run third inning started with second baseman Aidan Rice reaching with two outs. Michael Ryan followed with a hit and Davis drove home the team's first run of the season with a single to left. The Dans would add three more runs and that was all the offense they would need.

"That was huge to get four runs with two outs," Davis said. "An inning like that swings the momentum. We were having decent at-bats and then you get a two-out rally going. It was one after another and you start believing in each other."

Coleman said it's a pretty basic formula.

"Two-out hits and two-out RBIs are going to win ballgames," he said.

Right-hander Meade Johnson, a former standout at Mattoon High School, got the start and struck out seven hitters in four innings for the Dans. Griffin Graves, who was credited with the victory, struck out six in three innings and Bryce Riggs had three punchouts in two innings. As a staff, the Dans finished with 16 strikeouts to just two walks.

"Meade wasn't going to throw more than 60 pitches. That was the plan all along," Coleman said. "Same thing with Graves. Some of these guys haven't thrown in a live game in a while. We have to build them back up for the summer. We will probably run out three or four guys a night in each game this week. So, we can start figuring out roles and go from there.

"But, I thought our guys tonight did a really good job. Meade set the tone and to wind up with 16 strikeouts to just two walks is a pretty good way to open the season."

Davis also played a huge role, throwing out a pair of would-be baserunners.

"Our pitchers did a great job of being quick to the plate and giving me a chance," he said. "Without them being so quick, it probably would have been a complete different outcome."

One concern for Coleman was a pair of dropped fly balls in the ninth inning as the CornBelters scored their only run.

"We can't let that happen," he said. "At least, it's now and not game 30 of the season."

Former Westville standout Trey Bryant threw a scoreless ninth inning for Normal. Bryant is in his second season with the CornBelters.

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL Prospect League Standings Overall All times Central Eastern Conference Central Division

W L GB

Danville Dans 1 0 —

Dubois County Bombers 1 0 —

Full Count Rhythm 0 1 1.0

Normal CornBelters 0 1 1.0

Terre Haute Rex 0 1 1.0

Northeast Division

W L GB

Chillicothe Paints 1 0 —

Johnstown Mill Rats 1 0 —

Champion City Kings 0 1 1.0

Lafayette Aviators 0 1 1.0

Western Conference Northwest Division

W L GB

Clinton LumberKings 1 0 —

Illinois Val. Pistol Shrimp 1 0 —

Burlington Bees 0 1 1.0

Springfield Horseshoes 0 1 1.0

South Division

W L GB

Alton River Dragons 1 0 —

Jackson Rockabillys 1 0 —

Cape Catfish 0 0 0.5

Thrillville Thrillbillies 0 0 0.5

O'Fallon Hoots 0 1 1.0

Tuesday, May 28

Dubois County Bombers 4, Terre Haute Rex 3

Johnstown Mill Rats 13, Champion City Kings 8

Chillicothe Paints 7, Lafayette Aviators3

Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp 7, Springfield Lucky Horseshoes 1

Danville Dans 5, Normal CornBelters 1

Clinton LumberKings 6, Burlington Bees 5

Alton River Dragons 3, O'Fallon Hoots 0

Jackson Rockabillys 13, Full Count Rhythm 5

Wednesday, May 29

Champion City Kings at Johnstown Mill Rats, LATE

Chillicothe Paints at Lafayette Aviators, LATE

Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp at Normal CornBelters, LATE

Terre Haute Rex at Danville Dans, LATE

Clinton LumberKings at Springfield Lucky Horseshoes, LATE

Alton River Dragons at Burlington Bees, LATE

Thrillville Thrillbillies at O'Fallon Hoots, LATE

Cape Catfish at Jackson Rockabillys, LATE

Dubois County Bombers at Full Count Rhythm, LATE

Thursday, May 30

Alton River Dragons at Dubois County Bombers, 5:30 p.m.

Danville Dans at Lafayette Aviators, 6 p.m.

Johnstown Mill Rats at Chillicothe Paints, 6:05 p.m.

Springfield Lucky Horseshoes at Clinton LumberKings, 6:30 p.m.

O'Fallon Hoots at Burlington Bees, 6:30 p.m.

Full Count Rhythm at Cape Catfish, 6:35 p.m.

Normal CornBelters at Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp, 7:05 p.m.

Jackson Rockabillys at Thrillville Thrillbillies, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 31

Alton River Dragons at Dubois County Bombers, 5:30 p.m.

Danville Dans at Terre Haute Rex, 5:30 p.m.

Lafayette Aviators at Champion City Kings, 5:35 p.m.

Johnstown Mill Rats at Chilicothe Paints, 6:05 p.m.

Normal CornBelters at Springfield Lucky Horseshoes, 6:30 p.m.

Thrillville Thrillbillies at Cape Catfish, 6:35 p.m.

Burlington Bees at O'Fallon Hoots, 6:35 p.m.

Jackson Rockabillys at Full Count Rhythm, 7:05 p.m.

Clinton LumberKings at Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday, June 1

Lafayette Aviators at Johnstown Mill Rats, 6 p.m.

Champion City Kings at Chillicothe Paints, 6:05 p.m.

Springfield Lucky Horseshoes at Normal CornBelters, 6:30 p.m.

Terre Haute Rex at Danville Dans, 6:30 p.m.

Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp at Clinton LumberKings, 6:30 p.m.

Burlington Bees at O'Fallon Hoots, 6:35 p.m.

Dubois County Bombers at Alton River Dragons, 6:35 p.m.

Full Count Rhythm at Thrillville Thrillbillies, 7 p.m.

Cape Catfish at Jackson Rockabillys, 7 p.m.

Sunday, June 2

Lafayette Aviators at Johnstown Mill Rats, 2 p.m.

Illinois Valley Pistol Shrimp at Burlington Bees, 2 p.m.

Chillicothe Paints at Champion City Kings, 3:05 p.m.

Dubois County Bombers at Terre Haute Rex, 3:30 p.m.

Full Count Rhythm at Thrillville Thrillbillies, 4 p.m.

Jackson Rockabillys at Cape Catfish, 4:05 p.m.

Springfield Lucky Horseshoes at Danville Dans, 4:30 p.m.

Clinton LumberKings at Alton River Dragons 5:35 p.m.

O'Fallon Hoots at Normal CornBelters, 6 p.m.