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Admirals continue hot start with win over Frederick Douglass

By JOE MATHIS

Contributing Writer

For the first two innings Danville got runners on base but couldn’t cash them in.

But as the lineup flipped over for the second time, that changed.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom half of the third, the Admirals got on the board in one of the most unconventional ways possible, which then opened up the flood gates in their 9-3 win over Frederick Douglass.

With one out in the bottom of the third, Danville’s Preston Barnes singled then Ethan Wood walked, putting runners at first and second with one out.

Barnes and Wood would proceed to each steal a base, moving them each up 90 feet and into scoring position. That’s when Frederick Douglass pitcher Noah Gray attempted to throw a 2-2 pitch to Danville’s Cayden Shaver but made an errant move on the mound. Gray was called for a balk, allowing Barnes to trot in from third base and tie the game up at 1.

From there, the Danville offense took off.

“I don’t know if the balk necessarily jump-started us. I think it was more just the timing,” Danville coach Paul Morse said. “It was the second time through the line-up so we kind of made some adjustments and we had much better at bats that second time through.”

After Danville’s Brady Morse worked a quick six pitch top half of the fourth, the Ads’ bats got to work again.

This time it was Hunter Baxter who got the offense rolling. Baxter led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, followed by a Bryson Young walk.

The next at-bat, Baxter’s pinch runner, Logan Smothers, moved to third on a wild pitch, then scored when Jacob Crank lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to give Danville a lead it would never relinquish.

And the Ads kept their foot on the gas pedal.

After Crank’s sacrifice fly, Barnes reached base again–he would do so in all four of his at bats–then Wood singled to left scoring Young and Barnes to make it 4-1.

More offense came in the bottom of the fifth.

Brady Morse led off the fifth by reaching on an error, then moved to second on a Baxter walk. Young singled Morse in to make it 5-1, then Danville loaded the bases after Jaden Larmour beat out a bunt down the third base line.

As was the theme this game, Barnes reached base again on a bases loaded walk to make it 6-1, then Wood put the game out of reach for good.

Frederick Douglass called Quinn Bailey in from the bullpen. His first pitch curveball hung right over the plate–a pitch that Wood got every stitch of but was just a tad early, sending it foul down the left field line and disappearing into the Danville night sky.

He didn’t miss two pitches later, though, when he roped a double into left center field, clearing the bases and putting Danville up 9-1.

Frederick Douglass would add two more runs on the Danville bullpen in the top of the sixth but by that point, the game was out of reach as the Ads secured a 9-3 win.

While the offense was the show, a stellar start from Brady Morse on the mound also carried Danville. The freshman got the win going five innings, allowing only one hit and striking out seven.

“He threw well. I don’t know if in the first inning he had some nerves going there but after that, especially the third, fourth and fifth innings he really pitched well,” coach Morse said.  “When he’s on and spotting up his fastball and with the off speed pitches he has he’s pretty hard to hit.”

It’s an encouraging sign for the Admirals, who already boast loads of pitching depth.

“I just go out there and try to pitch and throw strikes and whatever happens happens,” Brady Morse said. “I try to pitch to the ball and it works out good for me.”

Danville will need as much pitching depth as they can get. Last night’s game started a stretch where the Ads will play five games in five days–and 10 games in the span of 12 days.

“This is a good thing especially early in the season. Not only is it going to have to be a lot of guys stepping up, it’s going to have to be a lot of young guys who probably haven’t thrown a lot of varsity before,” coach Morse said. “It’s a good time to see that early in the year. You get to see what kind of roles guys fall into by mid-season and then get ready for the post season. We’re looking forward to it.”

Danville’s early season grind continues tonight as they travel to West Jessamine.