Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — One team collected hits with runners on base, Sunday evening at VA Memorial Stadium. The other team was the Chillicothe Paints.
Both teams collected six hits on the evening, but Danville’s timing was much more precise in the Dans’ 6-2 victory over the Chillicothe Paints (38-20) on Sunday.
While both teams are tied atop the East Division standings with two regular season games left, Danville (38-20) has the edge over the Paints by winning both head-to-head matchups.
“Fatigue plays a role in baseball and guys need rest,” Paints manager Brian Bigam said. “We’re getting ready to finish up 13 games in 13 days, and not to make excuses, but it’s a brutal schedule. Guys are getting worn out with the travel and it would’ve been nice to get this one and give guys some rest for the last two games. But we’ll keep moving ahead.”
Danville wasted no time drawing first blood after Ryan Archibald notched a sacrifice fly to put the Dans ahead 1-0 in the top of the first.
But the Paints countered in the bottom of the second. After Trey Smith (University of Indianapolis) scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, Colin Shepard (Miami University) hit a sacrifice fly to give the Paints a 2-1 lead.
Following two scoreless innings, the Paints shot themselves in the foot.
Back-to-back fielding errors put Andrew Riggs on second and he scored on an RBI double from Jalen Jones for a 2-2 game in the top of the fifth.
“Danville hit two of their doubles with two outs and guys on base,” Bigam said. “We gave up too many free bases and timely hits happen when you don’t execute defensively. If you can’t throw strikes and play defense, you’re not going to win. We had our chances as did they, but they connected and we didn’t.”
After taking the lead 3-2 following a wild pitch, Sam Caril ripped a two-run double down the right field line to extend the lead to 5-2.
“You hope guys are mentally tough enough to bounce back from a sequence like that,” Bigam said. “I know our guys have that toughness, but give Danville credit. They threw two guys who hadn’t pitched for them all year and they did a nice job doing what they needed to do to win.”
The Dans put the final nail in the coffin as Jones ripped an RBI double that not only produced a 6-2 final score.
Mitch Milheim (The Ohio State University) suffered the loss in 5 1/3 innings pitched, allowing just three hits, two earned runs and striking out four.
Cody Orr (Tiffin University) collected two hits to lead the Paints while Shepard had an RBI.
The Paints finish the season on the road Monday and Tuesday at West Virginia before the Prospect League playoffs began.
“We’ll finish strong and hopefully we get the chance to host,” Bigam said. “We’re in the playoffs either way, but we need some help. Getting this game would have been a good start but we can only do our part and hope for the best. And if we have to, we’ll go to Danville on Thursday and beat them at their place.”