By Corey B. Elliot
DANVILLE — The Danville Warriors baseball team took down the Cascade Cadets in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader. In a season that has had a lot of growing pains for the Warriors, Danville (4-9) looks like a group progressing at just the right time as they dispatched a pesky Cascade (5-12) team 5-3 in the first game.
Whether it was a sacrifice bunt or a sacrifice fly, the Warriors were laying down superb situational hitting when they needed it most.
“We’re always simulating live situations in batting practice,” Danville coach Brady Armstrong said. “Every day we stress that. We’re always simulating live situations so our guys are always feeling the pressure.”
In addition to their hitting the Warriors stole nine bases, three of which resulted in a run. Sophomore pitcher John Fuson’s seven strike outs were also helpful. Fuson struck out two in the top of the first, leaving Cascade runners stranded, and on the ensuing trip to the plate hit a double that resulted in the game’s first run.
“John Fuson on the mound had a really good pace to him,” Armstrong said. “He hit the zone early, threw strikes and got ahead and made them put it in play. Our guys did the little things.”
Freshman Seth Tollison had a big day for the Warriors. Tollison recorded a sacrifice fly that drove in a runner to go with his sacrifice bunt that moved a runner into scoring position. In the fifth inning he put the icing on the cake with an RBI double that pulled the Warriors back in front of the Cadets by two and ultimately for good.
“Seth was great today,” Armstrong said. “He was huge for us today; he had a heck of a game. He’s a freshman and he’s a very good baseball player.”
But the Cadets did not go down quietly.
Cascade twice fought back only to see the game get away from them.
“We had seven hits, they had five hits and we had several runners on. We just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it,” Cascade coach Jason Thompson said. “They had some timely hits and we walked a couple guys, but I thought our pitcher pitched a nice game. He just got behind and had to give them some pitches they could hit.”
It didn’t get any easier for Cascade in the second game. The Warriors took another win with a 9-4 victory. With the bases loaded, Fuson came through again at the plate with a triple that shifted the momentum for the Warriors while senior D.J. Eckert took command of the mound.
“John broke the game open with a bases loaded triple and he played spectacular at third base, taking away multiple hits,” Armstrong said. “And D.J. was excellent in relief and picked up the win.”