TERRE HAUTE —
It took 3 hours, 45 minutes on Tuesday at Bob Warn Field, but the Terre Haute Rex got even.
The Rex avenged their season-opening loss to the Quincy Gems, and the 5-4 victory in 14 innings also pulled the team even with the Gems atop the Prospect League West Division standings.
Designated hitter Nate Arnold drove an outside pitch to the opposite field to score Nick Johnson, who got to second after a Cody Gardner sacrifice bunt, and send the several hundred loyal fans home happy.
Arnold, who went 2-of-6 with four RBI on the night, also sent the Rex winning streak to five heading into tonight's game at Danville.
The players were having a great time as hometown pitcher John Robert Patterson kept the Gems off balance for five scoreless innings to earn the victory.
"He showed his guts. He showed he was mature enough to handle the situation and the way he handled it was big time," said Arnold, who added that the Rex players enjoyed persevering for the victory. "To be honest with you, we were still having fun even though it was a long game," Arnold said. "Both dugouts were into it. Our dugout was into it."
The Gems tied the game in the eighth inning when Josh Dove, in his third inning of relief, left a pitch out over the plate, and Jake Ivory drove it to the gap in left-center field for an RBI double.
Michael Marsinek got Terre Haute through the ninth, and then Patterson took over in the 10th.
The Terre Haute North graduate mixed curveballs, fastballs and change-ups, and the off-speed arsenal equated into a lot of slow ground balls and pop-ups by the Gems' batters.
Patterson, who spent the past two seasons at Olney Central College, only throws his fastball in the mid to upper 70s. But he knows how to mess with hitters' timing.
"He knows what he is. He doesn't throw real hard. He embraces that and does a good job locating," Prettyman said. "What a great pickup for us to get him in here because it was a late sign. He showed us what he can do."
Patterson was thrilled to get the opportunity to pitch for the Rex. He sees it as a chance to show he deserves a chance to extend his college career somewhere.
"I love it. When I got the call to have this opportunity. … There's nothing like playing for your hometown team," Patterson said afterward. "Tonight was huge, coming in tied ball game."
Patterson ran into some adversity in the top of the 14th as he issued consecutive one-out walks, prompting a mound visit from Prettyman, who was getting potential relievers ready in the bullpen.
"He told me you keep us here and we're going to get the win, and we did. Clutch hitting right there," Patterson said.
Patterson got a nice boost from his former Terre Haute North teammate Gardner, whom Prettyman inserted into right field off the bench. Gardner caught a fly ball in right field and fired a perfect throw in the air to nail Thomas Richards trying to tag up from second base.
"I jokingly said to him did you even get a chance to play catch. It was kind of last minute. He just came out of nowhere and threw that ball on a line," Prettyman said.