TERRE HAUTE —
Fans attending this evening’s Terre Haute Rex game should expect some handouts, some surprises — and probably better start by the home team than the Rex could provide Saturday night.
Although the Rex got their offensive attack going in the second half of Saturday’s game against the Hannibal Cavemen, scoring three times in both the sixth and seventh innings, they weren’t halfway to the visitors’ total by that time. Hannibal won 14-6.
The crowd of 1,199 still enjoyed team pictures, free peanuts and giveaways of kids meals, desserts and appetizers as the Rex entered the final three games of the regular season treating their fans.
And with a playoff berth already in hand, the game didn’t hurt the team’s chances anyway.
“What we’re trying to achieve [in the last three games] is getting everybody some at-bats,” manager Brian Dorsett had said before the game. “And for our starting pitchers, we’re limiting their innings right now, setting ourselves up for the playoffs.”
The Rex play Tuesday at Dubois County, the first-half champions of the Prospect League’s West Division. Free tickets to that game were also given away Saturday.
Should Terre Haute win that game, there will be at least one playoff game at Bob Warn Field. The Rex would play the first of a best-of-three series at the East Division champion — either West Virginia or Chillicothe, although Richmond might also be a possibility— and then return home for the second and possibly third game of the championship series.
Terre Haute’s chances to win on Tuesday depend on getting better pitching — and maybe even a little better luck — than the Rex got Saturday.
Hannibal got five runs in the top of the first inning, getting three doubles and a single off the fence among its five hits as the wind blew out. The Cavemen added two more in the second, a single run in the third, and made it 12-0 in the top of the sixth when a hit batter, a walk and a single loaded the bases and catcher Derek Fletcher hit a triple to the right-center gap and scored when the throw to third base got through and into the Rex dugout.
The Rex had just hit in the first five innings against Kevin Lenkman of the Cavemen, who could have been described as effectively wild — four walks and a hit batter — but the Rex went to work against the Hannibal bullpen.
Successive doubles by Michael Eberle, Kyle Zimmerman and Tanner Glore and singles by Nate Bowles and Jacob Hayes produced three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Hannibal scored twice in the top of the seventh, but the Rex got three of their own in the bottom of the inning on three walks, a hit batter, a double by Glore and run-scoring grounders by Zimmerman and Bowles.
Glore and Bowles were the only Rex players with more than one hit, while Jake Mangler, Ian Sikes and Ryan Light had three each among the 18 Hannibal collected in the first seven innings.
The same two teams play at 5:30 p.m. today. The final regular-season game is a 7:05 p.m. home game Monday against Danville.