TERRE HAUTE —
Joe Meggs knocked in runs with a triple and a double and Ronnie Mitchell came off the bench to deliver a pair of doubles, helping the red-hot Terre Haute Rex knock off the Hannibal Cavemen 5-2 in Prospect League baseball Monday night at Bob Warn Field.
Hannibal jumped ahead with a run in the top of the first inning. Kyle Haen led off with a walk and C.K. Irby got hit by a Daniel Heefner pitch, then Matt Burton grounded a single into right field to plate Haen.
The right-handed Heefner struck out the next two batters before walking Trey Lang to load the bases. But Heefner avoided further damage by coaxing Alan Cheatham into an inning-ending groundout.
Terre Haute catapulted on top 2-1 with two runs in the third. With two outs (one on a caught stealing at second base), Jacob Hayes walked and Meggs smashed an RBI triple into the left-center gap. After John Loeffler walked, Chris Roglen grounded a single up the middle to send Meggs trotting home.
The Rex added another run in the seventh. Pinch-hitting for Cameron Fagg, Mitchell legged out a double that dropped between several Hannibal fielders in shallow center. After Chris Manning sac-bunted Mitchell to third, he scored on a two-out double by Meggs.
The Cavemen pulled within 3-2 with a run in the top of the eighth. Burton led off with a triple off the right-field wall and Michael Tucker stroked an RBI single.
But Terre Haute tacked on a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of that frame. Brett Teschner lofted a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Roglen from third and Mitchell doubled to left-center to send pinch-hitter Koby Kraemer racing home after he walked, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout.
Roglen (3 for 3 with a walk), Mitchell (2 for 2) and Meggs (2 for 4) were Terre Haute’s leading hitters. Meggs is a former Terre Haute resident who played for the University of Washington in the spring.
“Joe came up big in the clutch tonight,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett said afterward. “Two big hits in the gap. Just an excellent job… He’s been really driving the ball.”
Dorsett also praised Mitchell, who played center field after pinch-hitting, for being so cool under pressure late in the contest.
“That was big for him because Mitchell had not been seeing the results that he wants to see lately,” the Rex manager mentioned. “He’s really been working on his game and it’s beginning to show for him.”
“All you gotta do is just be ready,” Mitchell said in describing his mindset for coming off the bench. “Today, I took the approach that I was going to be ready when he calls on me. I went to the batting cage and got a couple swings, stayed loose, and obviously that was a good thing because I got a couple hits finally.”
Heefner picked up the victory, striking out six and allowing five hits in seven innings of work.
“Heefner did a great job of keeping them off balance,” Dorsett pointed out. “He had that shaky first inning but came back after that and just lit it up.”
“Starting the game off was kinda rough,” Heefner admitted. “But I made some adjustments and started throwing some more off-speed pitches to catch ‘em off balance.”
Terre Haute improved its record to 9-8 for the season, having won seven of its last eight games.
Sitting in third place, the Rex trail West Division leader Quincy by five games. Coincidentally, Quincy will be their next home opponent Sunday.
“I think everybody oughta come out and watch that game,” Dorsett emphasized. “We need big fan support… Quincy does a nice job over there and they have a lot of talent, so we need a lot of fans to come out and support us.”