Danville defeated Somerset 9-4 and 1-0 in All "A" regional games in 2004 and 2005. Coach Paul Morse said the Admirals should take pride in their success in the small-school tourney, but they shouldn't take it for granted.
"We're trying to preach to them not to take it for granted, because it's something that's not necessarily given to you every year," Morse said. "Somerset's got a good young team, They battled today, and they're never going to quit. They always play good baseball there, and they always will."
Somerset (6-6) tried to rally in the final inning, when it scored two runs and had two runners on base, but Danville (10-3) had put the game out of reach with a four-run fifth inning that gave the Admirals a 9-3 lead.
Now the Admirals will likely get another shot at an old nemesis, Lexington Christian, in an All "A" sectional game that will send the winner to the statewide tournament May 6-7 in Lexington.
Danville's biggest inning against Somerset underscored the way the Admirals' offense has been coming into form of late.
The hits keep on coming
Hits have been coming from all points in the lineup in recent games, and that was the case again Wednesday. Matt Grimes delivered a two-run single in the fifth from the No. 6 spot in the order, and No. 9 hitter Chris Pope drove in two more runs with a double, his second of the game.
"These last three games we've really started to swing the bats as a whole unit," Morse said. "I don't know if it's the weather warming up and everybody's starting to hit the ball a little better, but one through nine right now we're swinging the bats pretty good."
The Admirals had eight hits in all, one less than Somerset. The Briar Jumpers reached base 14 times in six innings against Witten (4-0) on seven hits, six walks and one Danville error.
Witten, whose fastball was clocked as high as 91 mph, gave up three runs, but he also struck out nine batters and pitched his way out of trouble several times. He stranded eight Somerset runners, including three in scoring position.
"That's what good pitchers have to do," Morse said. "Days you don't have your good breaking ball or have good pop on your fastball, you've got to find a way to get guys out, and he did that tonight."
"I got myself in a little bit of trouble early in counts, getting behind some batters, but some good defensive plays helped me out and we were able to come through without too much damage," Witten said.
Witten's solo home run in the bottom of the first inning tied the game after Somerset's Scott Moody took him deep in the top of the inning.
Two walks, two errors, a wild pitch, a balk and an RBI single by Nate Uslin gave Danville three runs in the third inning and a 4-1 lead.
"Once we got through the lineup, everybody was ready to go and just teed off," first baseman Deangleo Durham said.
Ads will play in regional April 24
Somerset pulled within one run in the top of the fifth on Kenny Hughes' two-run double, but the Admirals got those two runs back plus two more runs in the bottom of the inning. A double by Durham and a single by Uslin set the stage for the big hits by Grimes and Pope off losing pitcher Adam Wallen, who gave up six earned runs and all eight Danville hits.
Somerset scored twice off reliever Lance White with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and still had runners on first and second when White got Chase Hall on a groundout to end the game.
Danville will host the 11th Region All "A" winner during the week of April 24. That's expected to be defending state champion LCA, a team that has eliminated the Admirals in All "A" competition in each of the last three years and one Danville hasn't beaten since 2001.
"We've always had good games with them, and they definitely want to beat them," Morse said. "We're hungry, and with them being defending state champions, it'll be a big challenge for us."
Adam Wallen, Jordy Molen (6) and Chase Hall. Rich Witten, Lance White (7) and C.J. Lynn. W-Witten. L-Wallen. 2B-Chris Pope (D) 2, Kenny Hughes (S), Deangleo Durham (D). HR-Scott Moody (S), Witten (D).Somerset1000202-5-9-3Danville103140x-9-8-1