Baseball: Danville ekes out 2-1 win at Lincoln
Published 1:49 pm Friday, April 28, 2017
STANFORD — Noah Horton was good.
Brian Baxa was just a bit better.
Two of the top aces in the region squared off Tuesday at Lincoln County, with Baxa’s Danville Admirals coming out on top, 2-1.
The final numbers for each pitcher were nearly identical: Both pitched a full seven innings, both allowed three hits, both struck out 12 batters. All three runs in the game were unearned. Horton gave up three walks; Baxa had none. Neither pitcher gave up an extra-base hit. Baxa threw 65 percent of his pitches for strikes, Horton 62 percent.
“Normally, if you strike out 12 times, you’re not winning the game,” Danville coach Paul Morse said. “Luckily, we had a counter to that with Baxa, who had 12 of his own. Both pitchers pitched extremely well, we just had that one inning where they had to make a few more plays. Brian pitched great, that was the difference.”
Danville’s big inning came in the third, when Christian Howe and Hunter Baxter each reached base on an error to start the inning. Baxter’s pinch-runner, D’Mauriae VanCleave, scored on a hit from Ellison Stanfield. Zach Dampier walked with the bases loaded to bring in Mason Schroeder.
Horton threw a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Morse said his team struck out looking too often and wants to see a better approach from his players.
“Last time we played them, we scored eight runs and I don’t think we struck out at all that game,” Morse said. “I know we didn’t strike out any off of Horton. Then you go to 12 today, that’s the difference between eight runs and two runs. We’ve just got to put more balls in play. We had too many strikeouts looking, I think four or five of his K’s were backwards K’s. Guys who are around the plate, a good umpire is going to give him those pitches. He was around the plate for the most part, we’ve got to do a better job protecting it.”
Morse said his team has been improving in that regard, but it was just another special night for Horton. The Ads struck out twice against Nelson County on Monday night while putting up 13 runs.
Tuesday’s struggles at the plate weren’t a step back but instead a great game from Horton, Morse said.
“We haven’t had a double-digit strikeout game in a few weeks,” he said. “We’re getting better at that, I just think Horton was good today. He has been that way every time he’s been on the mound except for two weeks ago when we played. His only losses are the two to us. He was just good tonight, he was throwing three pitches for strikes, he was around the plate.”
As good as Horton was for Lincoln, Baxa kept pace.
“I think that was one of his better outings of the year,” Morse said. “No walks, one unearned run, three hits. We don’t drop that ball there and it’s a shutout.”
Baxa’s lone run came in the sixth inning after Cooper Brown scored on a wild pitch. Brown reached scoring position after a dropped ball at first base, which would have ended the inning.
45th District Baseball
at Lincoln Co.
Danville 002 000 0 — 2 3 1
Lincoln 000 001 0 — 1 3 2