By Eric Shultz
For The Daily Item
DANVILLE -- Normally, allowing seven runs would be enough for Danville starting pitcher Mason Fausnaught to earn a loss.
However, the Ironmen's offense provided him enough run support Monday to pick up the win against Shikellamy (7-9, 4-7 HAC-1), 10-7, and snap the team's six-game skid.
"I think Mason went out there and did a really, really good job of gutting it out," Danville coach Devin Knorr said. "I don't think he had his best stuff today, and I think he'd be the first to tell you that. But when he needed to make big pitches, he'd get the job done."
The high-scoring affair began with six runs by the Ironmen (5-9, 4-7 HAC-1) in the first three innings. But the Braves fought back and took a one-run lead in the top of the fifth inning, appearing to have momentum on their side.
The lead did not last long, though.
In their next trip to the plate, the Ironmen scored four runs and took the lead back for good.
Fausnaught led off the side with a walk. Shayne Riley singled up the middle, and a balk by starting pitcher Jake Hare put runners on second and third base.
Scott Heeter then doubled to drive in what ultimately were the tying and winning runs. Colton Riley and Garrett Krum each hit RBI singles for two insurance runs before the inning ended.
Regaining the lead before even stepping back on the mound boosted Fausnaught's confidence, he said.
"It's great when you're pitching and they have a big inning, and then you come back and you answer and you get a few more." Fausnaught said.
Before the rally, Fausnaught saw his six-run cushion evaporate in two frames, as the Braves briefly took the lead with their four-run fifth inning.
Having scored three runs in the fourth, the Braves continued to battle back in the fifth inning. After Logan Hall led off with a double, Nick Dunn was walked with one out. Both took a base on a steal, and Hall scored on a wild pitch.
Jean Turber was then walked, and Blake Bettleyon had a long shot bounce over the left field wall for an RBI ground-rule double. Later in the inning, Hare drove in two of his three RBI on the day with a ground ball up the middle.
With that, the Braves took the lead, 7-6.
However, they were held scoreless and to only two hits in the final two frames. Shikellamy coach Bobby Felmy said that the team needed to be a bit more aggressive with runners in scoring position.
"We got to jump on that first fastball -- we can't let him get deep in the count," Felmy said. "He showed that he can throw that off-speed. He didn't throw it much for strikes, but we were chasing at low pitches and it was effective."
Besides fending off the Braves on the mound for the win, Fausnaught contributed to his own run support. He went 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs and hit a two-run home run to left-center field in the third inning.
Although he said the strong day at the plate did not completely wipe away his pitching, Fausnaught said it was nice to know he helped offensively.
With the win, the Ironmen snapped a six-game skid and still have a small room for error in order to reach the postseason.
"Until we get No. 11 in the loss column, we're going to fight like crazy to get in," Knorr said. "The kids are hungry. This is a good step in the right direction, good way to start a week."