MATTOON — Toledo Post 764 had reason for optimism in the first inning of their Firecracker Classic opener against Danville. Holden Elwood laced a two-out single, and Toledo put two on with two out before the inning ended. Unfortunately, the optimism faded fast, as that was Toledo's last hit until the sixth inning as they fell to Danville 7-0. The optimism returned in game two, as the post moved across town and downed Marshall 4-2."We had a lot better defense and we had timely hitting," said Toledo coach Jim Talley.In game one, Danville starter Kyle Girton had Toledo off balance all day, and Danville put the bats to Toledo starter Andrew Talley early and often. They scored at least one run in each of their five at-bats on the day, totaling seven runs (five earned) off Talley. Girton kicked things off offensively, driving in a run in the first inning to put Danville up 1-0. A pair of doubles and an error by Talley scored two more in the second, putting Toledo up against the wall early.Despite a lack of hits, Toledo had its chances in almost every inning, putting runners in scoring position in five of its six at-bats. But the lack of hits came back to bite Toledo repeatedly."Our bats have been fairly good all year long, he did stymie us," Talley said. "We didn't execute. There were a few times sacrificing a runner over, and at the time, we didn't execute."Danville scored one in both the third and fourth, and two more in the fifth. The game ended after the top of the sixth, after Toledo's best scoring chance of the game. T.J. Thomas led off with, and Toledo put runners on second and third with no outs. But Girton forced a fielder's choice, and struck out the last two batters to end the game.In game two at Mattoon High School, Marshall scored one in the second inning off starter Zach Monroe. He would shrug it off and deliver a dominat performance, striking out 12 in seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits. Toledo's bats woke up for just one inning, but it would be more than enough. Elwood drove in three runs in the inning as part of a four-run frame, as Logan Rankin, Austin Light, Hayden Kanizer and Blake Thilker came around to score. Marshall scored one more off Monroe in the sixth, but that would be it. Toledo finished the day 1-1, and have two more games tomorrow with their championship hopes still alive. They play Rantoul at 1:15 p.m. at Grimes Field, and take on Mattoon's #2 team at 8 p.m. at the same site today.
Game 1Toledo 000 000 0 2 2Danville 121 12X 7 10 1WP - Girton LP - Talley
Toledo: Elwood (1-2, 2B, BB); Thomas (1-3, 2B)
Game 2Marshall 010 001 0 2 5 0Toledo 040 000 X 4 8 0WP - Monroe LP - Brown
Toledo: Rankin (2-4, R, SB); Light (2-4, R); Elwood (2-3, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SB); Kanizer (1-2, R, BB, SB); Thilker (1-2, R, BB)