Danville bounces back from blowout to blank Boyle

Published 12:20 pm Thursday, April 20, 2023


Contributing Writer

What a difference a day makes. A day, that is, and a strong right arm.

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One night after a defeat that could have derailed its season, Danville picked itself up and put its season back on track Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over archrival Boyle County.

Sam Matherly pitched a two-hit shutout for the Admirals one day after the Rebels had pummeled them in what surely was one of the most one-sided games in the history of the crosstown series.

“We got pretty much embarrassed bad,” Matherly said. “It takes a lot of heart to come back like we did. Good team win.”

Matherly struck out 14 batters in a game that couldn’t have been more different than that of the day before, when three Boyle pitchers combined for a four-inning no-hitter and the Rebels made the most of 13 hits and six Danville errors to win 20-0.

Danville got only one more hit and one more run Wednesday than it had Tuesday, but that was enough to give the Admirals a win they desperately needed.

“After the game (Tuesday) I think they were questioning themselves, the coaches were questioning them, just how much they were ready to compete, whether they were ready for a rivalry game,” Danville coach Josh Loughry said. “And to come out today after that beating yesterday and do what they did and just stay focused for seven innings, today we grew up. Our young guys and our team grew up.”

Gutted by graduation after winning its second consecutive 12th Region championship, Danville (10-9, 2-2 45th District) has won eight of 12 games after a 2-5 start. The Admirals were run-ruled in three of their last four losses, but they followed each defeat with a win.

This was by far the most significant of those bounce-back wins, in part because it shows the Admirals what they’re capable of.

“I think it shows that we can do whatever we want as long as we play our game,” Matherly said.

Loughry said it’s a win his young team can build on.

“It’s a great day, and we know we’re still growing as a team,” he said. “It’s all about getting to district tournament time at our best. We know lots can happen, but tonight showed our guys we can fight, we can face adversity.”

Loughry said he wasn’t planning to pitch Matherly in this game because he thought there was a good chance Danville and Boyle would meet in the 45th District Tournament and he didn’t want the Rebels’ hitters to see the senior right-hander before then, but the coach changed his mind less than three hours before the game.

“We were not going to throw him, but after the game yesterday … we thought that to keep the team morale we had to put it on the back of our guy, … and, man, he carried us,” Loughry said.

Matherly retired Boyle on 95 pitches in the 2-hour, 1-minute game, and many of those he threw early in counts were for strikes. The Bellarmine signee has a fastball that can approach 90 mph, but he also made good use of his slider Wednesday, particularly after getting ahead in the count.

“I mixed in my slider and I got lots of swings and misses down in the zone,” he said. “Also I pitched lots of strikes and kept the walks to a minimum.”

Boyle got a first-inning single from Kason Myers and a sixth-inning single from Cole Sims. The Rebels loaded the bases with Sims’ single and the only two walks Matherly allowed before he got a strikeout to end the inning.

Danville had committed six errors leading to 14 unearned runs Tuesday but had only one error Wednesday.

The Admirals scratched out a run in the second inning when Noah Cross, the first of three batters to walk in the inning, scored on a wild pitch.

Sims, Landon Parnass and Kason Myers combined to hold Danville to one hit, a leadoff single by Jarius Bryant in the first inning.

The day before, Myers, Parnass and Coleman Stewart allowed no hits and only one walk in Boyle’s four-inning win.

Eleven different Rebels had hits in that game, led by Josh Cool with two home runs and six RBIs and Sage Dawson with two singles.