Jun. 21—TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — For the second straight weekend, the Danville Post 210 Speakers fell just short of their goal.
On Sunday afternoon, the Terre Haute Post 346 baseball team defeated Danville 7-6 in the championship game of the Sixth Annual John E. Hayes Best of the Midwest Invitational at Terre Haute North High School.
And while the Speakers (13-3) are still looking for their first tournament title, manager Allan Shepherd is seeing a group come together.
"The Terre Haute tournament is still one of the best in the Midwest. To make the championship game for the second year in a row, I got to see what we are made of," he said. "This team is building and getting stronger.
"Everything we do is to get better for the postseason tournaments. I think we showed this weekend that they are going to be ready when we get to the postseason."
Danville cruised through pool play in Terre Haute, beating Washington, Mo. (3-0), Crawfordsville, Ind. (6-0) and the Palos Coyotes (10-0). That earned the Post 210 Speakers the No. 1 seed for the single-elimination tournament.
"We didn't allow a run in pool play," Shepherd said.
In Saturday's quarterfinals, Danville defeated Sullivan (Ind.) 12-2 and then it was a rematch with Washington in Sunday's semifinals with Post 210 claiming a 7-6 victory as Blake Norton delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly in the fifth inning and left-hander Conlan Moore got the final nine outs to pick up the win.
"Everything worked out the way that we wanted," said Shepherd, who turned to Dawson Dodd and Ethan Edwards in the championship game.
Terre Haute scored six times in the first three innings off of Dodd, but Shepherd said his right-hander wasn't completely at fault.
"We didn't play our best defensive game," Shepherd said. "Both Dawson and Ethan competed really well, but we needed to play better defense behind them."
Danville trailed 6-2 after three innings, but the Speakers scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to pull within 7-6 going into the bottom of the seventh. Post 210 had a shot in the seventh with a one-out single by Norton but he was stranded at first base.
"Offensively, we hit the ball hard against Terre Haute, but there were too many right at them," Shepherd said. "I'm looking forward to playing them again later this year."
This week, the Post 210 Speakers will play a single game tonight at Gruber Park in Tilton against Rantoul with first pitch at 6 p.m. and then this weekend Danville will play the Crawfordsville Wooden Bat Tournament.
"We have played 16 games in about 19 days to start the year," Shepherd said. "We are going to use a couple days this week to clean some stuff up.
"This weekend's tournament in Terre Haute is the hottest I've ever been in Terre Haute. So, we need to get guys healthy and keep them healthy for the next stretch of games."