PREP BASEBALL: Vikings find success in rebuilding process

Apr. 18—DANVILLE — Youth and inexperience seem to go hand-in-hand in high school athletics.

Teams with a lot of underclassmen have a lot of potential for growth, but they always seem to struggle at times because they just simply haven't done it before.

That's the case this season for the Danville baseball team.

The Vikings start four and sometimes five freshmen against quality varsity competition. That youth got a rude awakening with eight straight losses to open the season but Wednesday's 12-2 victory over Urbana at Danville Stadium was not only Danville's first home win but the Vikings are now 4-3 in Big 12 Conference action with four straight wins.

"A game like this can really boost the team morale," said Danville pitcher Grady DeVors, one of those freshmen. "We are playing against kids that are 3 and 4 years old than us and it was a struggle to start the season.

"Hopefully, we can keep this going this season."

Danville coach Michael Dokey is seeing some encouraging signs.

In Wednesday's win over Urbana, his team executed a couple run-and-hit plays successful and they even got a run in the fourth as Jake Garrison scored from second on a sacrifice bunt by Brody Boyd.

"It's been a very trying start to the year," Dokey admitted. "But, they are starting to buy into what the coaches have been telling them. We are not a power-hitting team and we're not going to be a power-hitting team. Tonight, we executed the things that it's going to take for us to be successful.

"We need to utilize our speed and we need to get our bat on the ball more consistently."

The Vikings finished with nine hits — seven singles and two triples and they limited their strikeouts to seven in the contest.

In seven conference games this spring, Danville has scored 42 runs — 29 in two wins over Urbana this week — for an average of 6.0 per game.

"This is huge because they see that they can do it and hopefully, they continue to buy into what the coaches continue to tell them," Dokey said. "If we can keep improving each day, I think the wins are going to come more regularly and even if not wins, we are going to compete with some of the best teams in our league.

"It's really good that our freshman are seeing the caliber of players that are at the varsity level. If we can compete for seven innings against those teams, that is as good as a victory in some cases."

The Vikings honestly feel that Wednesday's win should have been their third straight but Danville suffered an 8-5 loss to Covington on Tuesday.

"We had one inning where we committed five errors that led to six runs," Dokey said. "Our pitching has been pretty solid, but we're struggling with our fielding of the baseball and throwing of the baseball.

"If we can start doing the routine stuff on a regular basis, I think we can compete with a lot of teams."

DeVors admitted that loss really fueled the Vikings fire coming into Wednesday's game with the Tigers.

"Tonight was all about bouncing back," said DeVors, who struck out six in six innings. "Cam (Feuerborn) is our senior leader and he makes sure that we are working hard and getting better every game. He helped set the tone for our win."

Feuerborn was just 1-for-4 at the plate, but he anchored the Danville defense at shortstop.

Marvin Davis III led the Vikings offense with two singles, while Feuerborn and Garrison had triples. Four different players led the team with 2 RBIs each.

At Danville Stadium Danville 12, Urbana 2

Urbana 101 000 — 2 5 7

Danville 122 115 — 12 9 2

WP — Grady DeVors. LP — Jaydon Riggs. Two or more hits — Urbana: Riggs 2, Ayden Palmer 2. Danville: Marvin Davis III 2. 3B — Urbana: Riggs. Danville: Cameron Feuerborn. Jake Garrison. RBIs — Urbana: Noah Baker. Danville: Brody Boyd 2, Darius Jay 2, Ty Rangel 2, Jentezen Harris 2, DeVors.

Records — Urbana 3-11 overall, 2-6 in the Big 12 Conference. Danville 4-11 overall, 4-3 in the Big 12.