"It means a lot to everybody on this team, and especially to these seniors who've played here three or four years and never been able to get over the hump," winning pitcher Rich Witten said.
The victory allows the Admirals to play in the statewide All "A" Classic for the second time. They played in the tournament in 2003, but the format was changed after that season and they were eliminated by LCA in each of the last two years.
Now the Admirals will return to the tournament May 6-7 at Applebee's Park in Lexington.
"It's going to be big just to have a chance to play for a state championship," Danville coach Paul Morse said.
But Morse also said Danville will benefit from this "signature win" long after the All "A" tourney.
"To beat the defending state champs and the team that's ranked No. 1 right now .. is just tremendous for our program," he said. "It's going to help our baseball program at Danville, I think, for years to come."
Danville (17-4) already led 2-0 when it scored seven runs in the second inning, including six after a two-out error.
The Admirals' biggest hits were home runs - a two-run blast over the center-field scoreboard by Deangleo Durham put the Admirals on the board in the first inning, and a three-run shot to left by Nate Uslin capped their big second inning.
But between the bombs came three other hits - singles by C.J. Lynn, Matt Grimes and Derrick Pollard - that Morse said were also critical.
"We had some big clutch hits there," Morse said. "The two home runs were big, but we had numerous other big hits in there and quality at-bats where guys were behind in the count and worked themselves on."
Those hits made Witten's job on the mound much easier. Witten (7-0) no-hit LCA through five innings and finished with three hits, three walks and nine strikeouts.
"It allows you to go out on the mound and relax and try to throw strikes and get ahead of the batters," Witten said. "It sends a message early in the game that we're here to play and they're going to have to come to play too if they want to try to win."
LCA (12-5), which had allowed nine or more runs only twice in the last five seasons and hadn't done so in its last 61 games, was sending a different message by the fifth inning, when it began replacing several of its starters.
"They came down here thinking they could kick our butts no matter what when they showed up, but after about the fourth or fifth inning they started taking everybody out. I didn't think a supposed great program like that would be doing that," Lynn said.
Danville did something it hadn't done often this season when it racked up all those early runs. The Admirals have gotten much of their offense late in games, and Morse said he hopes that trend will change.
"The pressure just switches from one team to the next," Morse said. "If you can score some runs early in the game, the pressure is off you, it's off your pitchers, it's off your defense on every ground ball.
"Jumping out on them early just kind of took the wind out of their sails, and that's what we need to do a little more often against whoever we're playing."
Durham's home run in the first inning was important, but it was only the beginning. Grimes singled home a run in the second before a two-out throwing error by LCA third baseman Shane Crain allowed Grimes to score from first and opened the floodgates.
John Raines, who reached on the error, scored on a single by Pollard, who came around on three wild pitches. After Witten was hit and Durham was walked, Uslin hit a 3-1 pitch out to make it 9-0.
"It was a big one to come up in a game like this and help our pitcher get more relaxed on the mound," Uslin said. "In a big game like this everyone wants to come out and strike early, especially against a team like this."
Witten didn't give up a hit until Michael Nielsen's two-out single in the sixth inning. LCA got to him for three runs in the seventh, when he allowed two walks and two hits and his teammates committed two errors.
"Rich was getting a little tired but he really pitched well," Morse said. "That was probably the best he's pitched all year, and the reason is because he threw his breaking ball over for strikes."
Danville will play St. Mary or Livington Central in a quarterfinal game in the eight-team All "A" tourney at 12:30 p.m. May 6. The semifinals and championship will be the next day.
"It's been one of our goals from the beginning of the season as long as I've been here," Witten said. "It's very important to us. It's our kind of schools, and we hope to do well up there."
Robbie Ross, Garrie Krueger (2), Michael Nielsen (4) and Zach Monroe, Justin Hanks (6). Rich Witten and C.J. Lynn. W-Witten. L-Ross. 2B-Travis McConathy (LC). HR-Deangleo Durham (D), Nate Uslin (D).Lex. Christian0000003-3-3-1Danville270000x-9-7-2