Prep Baseball: Danville ices Lincoln 4-3 with late run on frosty evening
Nick Serey of Danville delivers a pitch during the third inning of the Admirals' 4-3 win over Lincoln County on Tuesday. Serey pitched a complete game, allowing six hits and striking out seven, and he drove in the winning run. (Mike Marsee / March 21, 2013)
The Admirals endured through cold conditions Thursday, making a few mistakes along the way but also making the plays they needed to make.
And they kept plugging away after Lincoln County wiped out their lead, pushing across a run in the bottom of the sixth inning to win 4-3 at Admiral Field.
Nick Serey drove in the tying run with an infield single, then finished what he started on the mound to deliver a victory for Danville in its 45th District opener.
Serey had surrendered three runs in the fifth inning that allowed Lincoln to tie the game before he and his teammates bounced back.
“I think it’s all about having a solid team behind you,” Serey said. “Whenever you do something negative, it’s all about having a solid team behind you, and I had that to help me get through adversity, and that’s the most important thing to get through something like that.”
Even before the Patriots battled back, both teams got a heaping helping of adversity from Mother Nature. The temperature was 32 degrees with a wind-chill factor of 25 degrees when the game started.
“It being cold out here is just one of those variables added to the game. When you get going, it just all kind of falls away and you just get in your spot,” Serey said.
Many of the 15 or so fans who were in the stands for the first pitch were wrapped in blankets, and both teams had portable heaters in their dugouts. The coaches of both teams said that while it was a tough day to play, it made for a good test of their clubs’ mettle.
“I told them the guys that can deal with the mental part of it are the ones that are successful,” Danville coach Paul Morse said. “If they want to play at the next level, in college baseball those teams are halfway through their season already, and this is the kind of weather they have to play in.”
“Mental toughness in this weather is a big thing. The World Series is played in weather like this,” Lincoln coach Brad McNew added.
As for the outcome, McNew said just a few plays here and there made the difference.
“They just got more runners to third base with fewer outs than we did,” he said.
Danville (4-1, 1-0 district) got the last runner to third in the sixth inning, when Cole Phillips led off with a double off the left-center field wall, then advanced on Ben Mahan’s deep fly ball. Serey hit a hard ground ball to second base, but Phillips got a good jump and scored the go-ahead run well ahead of John Day’s throw home.
Serey then returned to the mound for the seventh inning, and he finished off Lincoln (1-2, 0-1) by picking a runner off first base for the second time in the game, closing out a complete game in which he allowed one earned run on six hits and had seven strikeouts without a walk.
Serey has three of the Admirals’ four wins, with 22 strikeouts and four walks in 18 innings, and Morse said he has a “bulldog mentality” that serves pitchers well.
“The big key for him is to throw some of his off-speed pitches for strikes, and he was successful doing that, keeping the guys off his fastball,” Morse said. “He’s a battler out there.”
Morse said the entire Danville team has battled its way to a good start after losing seven seniors from last year’s regional runner-up team.
“We’re not going to run out anybody that’s going to strike out 15 guys or light up any radar guns or hit a bunch of home runs right now, but they’re playing hard and they’ve bought into our system,” he said.
The Admirals got three of their seven hits in the third inning against Lincoln starter Logan Young, who allowed five hits in five innings. They scored one run on a fielder’s choice and another on an error before Mason Stamm’s two-out triple made it 3-0.
Lincoln struck back in the fifth, scoring on a fielder’s choice, a wild pitch and a Tanner Leigh single.
“We bunted the ball some and tried to put a little pressure on them and got some runs. We just never could get going,” McNew said. “They probably got one more hit and we made one more error today. It wasn’t, I’d say, a well-played ballgame, but it was a good ballgame.
“We’ve just got to see where we can go from here. Hopefully we’re just building.”
The Patriots play tonight at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, where they’ll face Rockcastle County.
Lincoln County 000 030 0 — 3 6 2
Danville 003 001 x — 4 7 1
Logan Young, Zach Brown (6) and Austin Greer. Nick Serey and Will Graham. W—Serey. L—Brown. 2B—Brown (LC), Cole Phillips (D). 3B—Mason Stamm (D).