The Star: Darroch Koel came through big for Danville once again. His solo home-run in the third tied the game at 1-1, and his two-out RBI base hit in the fifth sparked a five-run rally. Koel also pitched for Danville, finishing with three strikeouts and only one hit in one and 1/3 innings.
The Turning Point: With the game tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the fifth, Danville was in need of runs. Stringing together several big hits and taking advantage of two Pleasanton errors, Danville scored five runs with a two-out rally, solidifying its victory.
The Quote: "If I had to say the one thing that made the difference, it would be that our boys showed an incredible amount of heart," said Danville coach Mark Dawson. "They didn’t get down on themselves, and they never gave up."
What's next? Danville will face Tassajara in the District 57 All Star Tournament Finals Friday at 6:00 p.m. to decide the district champion. With its second loss in two days, Pleasanton is eliminated from the tournament.
Two-out rallies were the 12-year-old Danville all stars method of choice for pulling out a 7-2 victory over Pleasanton National on Thursday night to earn a spot in the District 57 Tournament Finals.
The score was close for the first four and a half innings thanks to high-level pitching from both sides. With the game tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the fifth, Danville’s offense was ready to erupt.
After getting two quick outs, Pleasanton’s pitcher Bradley Norton looked like he would have another short inning. But Danville’s hitters had another plan in mind.
Darroch Koel smashed a base-hit to right field and a subsequent error by the outfielder allowed for a runner to score and for Koel to reach third. Another four runs would score off hits from Conner Redmond, Jared Dawson and Chris Lonestar before Norton got the final strikeout.
Though Danville was putting the ball in play, it was the error in the outfield and another error from the shortstop on a routine ground ball that let kept the inning alive.
"They capitalized on some errors, and they hit well off us," said Pleasanton coach Todd Norton. “The errors we made put them in the lead.”
Pleasanton had put itself on the board first, taking a 1-0 lead after James Cowick batted in Norton during the first. For several innings, Pleasanton appeared to be on its way to its second victory over Danville in a week.
It wasn’t until the third inning, with two outs, that Danville retaliated with back-to-back home runs by Koel and Redmond to steal the lead.
Danville coach Mark Dawson attributed his players’ big, opportune hits to the fact that they continued working hard the whole game, battling for every hit.
“If I had to say the one thing that made the difference, it would be that our boys showed an incredible amount of heart,” he said. “They didn’t get down on themselves, and they never gave up.”
Pleasanton had several chances to put more runs on the board, but the team did not capitalize on them.
After tying the game in the top of the fifth with an RBI base hit by Garrett Howell, Pleasanton had two runners on a base and an opportunity to retake the lead. But a timely pitching change by Danville allowed Ryan Bowman to strike out Cowick.
“We didn’t execute when we had guys in scoring position,” said Norton. “We know we’re a good hitting team, we just didn’t score runs today.”
Danville had to work hard to pull out the win against Pleasanton Thursday, but it will need an even better performance Friday when it faces Tassajara Valley, the only undefeated team, at 6:00 p.m. in the tournament finals.
Looking to repeat for the third straight year as District 57 champions, Danville will need to win Friday and Saturday against Tassajara in order to claim the district title once again.
The Pleasanton National all stars, now eliminated from the district tournament, will compete in the San Ramon Little League Classic, beginning on Saturday.
Danville 7, Pleasanton National 2
Pleasanton National 1 0 0 0 1 0 - 2 8 3
Danville 0 0 2 0 5 X - 7 9 0
Danville (ab-r-h) Venezia 3-1-1, Koel 3-2-2, Redmond 3-2-3, Neswick 3-0-0, Bowman 3-1-0, Dawson 3-1-1, Ludwig 1-0-0, Lonestar 2-0-1, Banks 2-0-1, Batza 1-0-0, Bartnick 1-0-0; Totals 25-7-9.
Pleasanton National (ab-r-h) Norton 3-1-1, Cowick 3-0-1, Albanese 3-0-1, Chinn 3-0-0, Howell 3-0-2, Godi 1-1-1, Ibanez 1-0-0, Cassetti 1-0-0, Moroney 2-0-0, Zerio 2-0-1, Myers 2-0-0, Torquemada 3-0-1; Totals 27-2-8.
Danville: Redmond 2,1/3 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 K, 0 BB; Koel 1,1/3 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 3 K, 0 BB; Venezia 1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 K, 0 BB; Bowman 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 K, 1 BB; Dawson 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB.
Pleasanton National: Norton 5 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 8 K, 1 BB.
2B – Dawson (D), Lonestar (D)
3B – Torquemada (PN)
HR – Koel (D), Redmond (D)
RBI – 2 Koel (D), 2 Redmond (D), 2 Dawson (D), Lonestar (D), Howell (PN), Cowick (PN)