Memorable run comes to an end

Memorable run comes to an end

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Danville Post 210 American Legion baseball team kept checking off boxes this postseason.

The Speakers tallied the most wins in a season. They won their district tournament. Then, they made it back to the Great Lakes Regional tournament for the second straight year after a second-place finish at the state tournament.

Finally, they made a run to the regional championship game with a few heart-pounding, come-from-behind victories. Danville's season ended with a 13-1 loss to Midland (Mich.), but that didn't sully a season unlike any in the program has ever had.

"We're ecstatic," coach Allan Shepherd said. "It was our goal this year to get back to regionals and make the run that we did. We just kind of ran out of steam against a really, really good Michigan team. But overall, we're just completely overwhelmed by how well we played and how well we got along, bottom line."

Danville lost its second game of the double-elimination tournament to the same Edwardsville team that beat it twice during the state tournament before coming from behind three times to advance to the championship. One of those wins came against Midland on Saturday, a ninth-inning comeback to give the Michigan state champions just their second loss of the season.

Another came on Saturday against Rockport (Ind.), when Waylon Conrad pitched six scoreless innings after Post 210 fell behind, 3-0, in the first three innings. Noah Nelson had three hits in the win, in which Danville scored all of its runs in the 9-4 win in the fourth through sixth innings.

"(The mid-game rally) was relieving," Shepherd said. "We had a little bit of a slow start. We probably had a little bit of a hangover from the night before, but these guys feed off of each other so once we get it going, it's pretty hard to stop. ... Waylon Conrad just pitched his guts out. Gave us a chance, and westarted hitting in the end to give us the win."

After losing its first two games at the regional, Danville's goal was to make a run on their return trip, and that's exactly what they did.

"There's a lot of pageantry, there's a lot of things that go on in this tournament," Shepherd said, "but they stayed focused and they acted like they'd been here before."

For two straight seasons, Danville has set program records for wins and postseason runs. Their 40-7 record this year made them 75-12 in the last two seasons.

Shepherd will lose seven players from that unforgettable two-season run, but he thinks their impact will be felt years down the line.

"This is a really special group, and I'm going to miss them a lot," Shepherd said. "They have forever changed the face of our program."

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