News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Terre Haute Rex

July 11, 2011

Sharp defense, six runs in 7th drive Rex past Danville

TERRE HAUTE — You might not think a defensive play perpetrated by Ronnie Mitchell and Koby Kraemer would have been a key in the Terre Haute Rex’s 10-2 victory over the Danville Dans in a Prospect League baseball game at Bob Warn Field on Sunday.

But when this play was executed, the Rex held a precarious 4-2 lead and the Dans were threatening with runners at first and second with one out in the top of the seventh inning.

Ninth-place batter Gabe Woods hit an apparent pop-fly single that dropped in front of Rex centerfielder Mitchell. But the runner at second, Chris Casto, thinking the ball might be caught, got a late start heading to third base.

Mitchell corralled the ball on one hop, then fired a laser to Kraemer at third base. Kraemer, making like a first baseman, made the stretch for the forceout, gloving the ball on the short hop for the second out. Threat over.

“On the first thought I was going to dive, but if I dove [the ball] would probably get by me and [Casto] would get to third anyway,” Mitchell explained. “So I just tried to play it. I got the assist, and Koby picked me up with the great catch on the short hop.”

“It was one of those situations [Danville] had a base-running glitch on their part,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett noted. “The runner should have been halfway, and had he been halfway, I’m not sure Ronnie would have got him. That’s a heads-up play by Ronnie coming up and throwing the guy out.

“All three outfielders, he, [Lucas] Hileman and [Chris] Manning have done a great job of cutting runners down. All three of those guys are real aggressive.”

That was seemingly the jump-start needed to revive the Rex offense, going on to plate six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to burst the game wide open.

As it turned out, Rex starter Conner Fisk (3-2) didn’t need those insurance tallies after all, but they removed any drama from the last two innings. Fisk tossed a complete-game six-hitter, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven Dans’ batters.

“Conner’s had two really great games against Danville,” Dorsett said. “He’s got a plus-90 [mph] fast ball, nice slider, changes speeds and locates [the ball], good changeup. He’s a kid that really has a bright future. He loves to compete. He was throwing as hard in the ninth inning as he was in the first inning.”

The Dans went up 1-0, scoring an unearned run in the top of the first inning. Taed Moses walked, went to second on a dropped pickoff throw by first baseman Joe Meggs, stole third and scored on a ground out.

But the Rex bounced back to score three runs in the second inning, putting together six hits in a row with one out. Brett Teschner singled, John Loeffler doubled, and then Mitchell hit a two-RBI double to put the Rex up 2-1.

“Coach has been preaching hitting with runners in scoring position gives confidence to the offense and gets the momentum going our way,” Mitchell said. “I was just happy to get that big hit and get in scoring position for the next guy.”

The next guy, Nick Johnson followed with a RBI-single for a 3-1 lead. But as quick as the rally started, it just as quickly ended as Johnson, Jacob Hayes and Manning — the latter two with back-to-back singles — were all left stranded.

“It would be nice to see us score more than just three in that inning. … I think we could’ve scored five or six,” Dorsett said.

Johnson singled with one out in the fourth, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Manning to put the Rex ahead 4-1.

In the Rex seventh, Hileman walked with one out, then Meggs reached on a bunt single and was safe on a headfirst slide at first base. Kraemer, Teschner and Jordan Pearson followed with a RBI-single, RBI-double and two RBI-triple, respectively.

A two-base throwing error by the Dans’ shortstop and a pinch-hit single by Derek Hannahs produced the Rex’s 10th run.

“Well-rounded game,” Dorsett stated. “Offensively the last two nights guys have been doing really well. Nice to see back-to-back nights scoring lots of runs … getting some key hits in those RBI situations we’ve been talking a lot about.”

The Rex (4-3 in the second half, 20-16 overall) host the Dubois County Bombers at 7:05 p.m. today at Warn Field, their final game before a three-day All-Star break.

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