CHARLESTON — There’s no set offensive blueprint for a baseball team trying to recover from an early deficit.
Danville Post 210’s senior Legion club initially looked like it would opt for a typical approach in Wednesday’s Great Lakes Regional opener versus Swoyersville (Pa.) Post 644.
A Chase Vinson single followed by a Logan Spicer double to start the bottom of the second inning trimmed Swoyersville’s lead to 3-1.
Then, the Speakers proceeded to get creative.
“It’s a lost art,” Post 210 coach Allan Shepherd said. “We’re always going to do it as long as I coach.”
That’d be bunting, and the Speakers utilized it to perfection at Eastern Illinois’ Coaches Stadium.
Jake Stipp drove in two runs with a pair of bunts, and Vinson started a rally with his decision to lay one down as Post 210 stayed in the winners’ bracket with a 7-4 victory over Swoyersville.
“We all know how (to bunt). We’re pretty good athletes,” said the Oakwood graduate Vinson, who snared the pitching win as well. “Just anything to ... get some momentum going.”
After Spicer’s second-inning knock, Lucas Hofer sacrificed him to third base with a bunt of his own.
What followed was Stipp getting an opportunity to right some past wrongs.
Twice earlier in the Legion season, the Danville alumnus failed to get down a squeeze bunt.
The third time proved the charm when Stipp bounced one between Swoyersville pitcher Nate Baranski and shortstop Tommy Federici, getting thrown out while bringing home Spicer.
“I was just seeing it better. ... I was watching the ball on the way off the bat,” Stipp said. “It’s just doing whatever we can to get runs across so we can win a game.”
That approach continued in the fourth with Swoyersville (26-5) still ahead 3-2.
Vinson called an audible and bunted for a base hit to lead off the frame, one of his three singles on the day.
After a Hofer triple tied the contest at 3, Stipp executed another runner-on-third bunt and this time reached base safely to boot.
Post 210 (32-7-1) never trailed again.
“We call it team baseball. It’s kind of our motto this year,” Shepherd said. “It may’ve gone unnoticed in the statbook, but it won’t for me. It was huge.”
Another three insurance runs down the road gave Vinson enough cushion with which to work.
He struggled through the first two innings, permitting three tallies as the Speaker defense posted two errors in the field.
But catcher Chase Rademacher started a pair of pickoffs for Post 210, and Vinson wound up stranding six Swoyersville baserunners in six innings of work.
“I didn’t feel like my velocity was there,” Vinson said. “I knew that I was going to have to depend on my command.”
“His offspeed was really good, and he was able to locate his offspeed and bury his changeup when he needed to,” Shepherd added. “But that’s what you get out of a four-year (Legion) senior and a college guy.”
Post 210, which has finished runner-up at the regional stage each of the past two seasons, continued a stretch of overcoming early trouble.
“We’ve been there before,” Stipp said. “Our last three games we’ve been down, and we keep grinding, keep battling.”
Shepherd and Co. no doubt would prefer that trend not continue Thursday, when the Speakers face Lyon County (Ky.) Post 68 in a 2 p.m. bout.
Even if such a situation plays out once more, though, Shepherd will keep the faith.
“Never got nervous (trailing Wednesday),” he said. “I’ve been saying it since we got in (the) division tournament: They’re battle tested.”