TERRE HAUTE —
The Terre Haute Rex clinched a playoff spot last Thursday … but there were still four games to be played.
One of them was Sunday at Bob Warn Field as Hannibal concluded its two-day visit. Given that nothing is on the line for the Rex, it was time to mix and match.
The Rex did it with their pitching on Saturday against Hannibal and lost. On Sunday, the Rex mixed and matched on the mound and in the field the results were better. The Rex broke a tie in the sixth inning and held on for a 9-7 win in front of 927 fans.
Fourteen position players and four Rex pitchers all saw action. It’s a chance for everyone to play, but it’s also an opportunity to keep everyone sharp for Tuesday’s Prospect League Western Division playoff game at Dubois County.
“We definitely want some guys to finish off with some good at-bats. There’s a lot of spots on this ballclub, quite frankly, that still have some competition. They’ve all got to stay ready,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett said.
Rex left fielder Casey McCurdy started the game, got two at-bats, and then gave way to Jacob Hayes. He knows this is a time where the team is playing out the string until the games count again, but he doesn’t want it to change his focus.
“We’re going to come out and play the same. Some guys are going to get more at-bats and some of the pitchers aren’t going to pitch as much, but we want to play the same way and keep it rolling for the playoffs,” McCurdy said.
The game was a see-saw affair. The Rex staked themselves to a 2-0 lead after three innings, but Hannibal tied the game in the fourth.
As has been typical of the Rex at Warn Field, they had an immediate answer. An RBI double by Patrick Chandler — who was 3-for-6 — and a two-run single by Kyle Kempf gave Terre Haute a 5-2 advantage.
Uncharacteristic of the Rex, they didn’t hold that lead. Hannibal put up a four-spot in the fifth inning. A bases-clearing triple by Zach Nichols and a RBI groundout by Ryan Light put the Cavemen back on top 7-6.
The Rex knotted the game 7-7 in the bottom of the fifth via an Edmund Cheatham sacrifice fly.
The go-ahead run was scored in the sixth. Nick Johnson led off with a single and Tanner Glore drove him with a triple down the right field line. Glore scored on a Hayes double to make it 8-6. The teams would trade runs in the late innings, but the Rex would not be threatened from there.
Terre Haute concludes its regular season tonight at 7 p.m. against Danville.
• Playoffs — Terre Haute and Dubois County will play at 7:15 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday. Tommy Strunc will pitch for Terre Haute.
If the Rex win, they will play a best-of-3 series against the Eastern Division winner. The first game will be at the Eastern Division site on Thursday.
The second and third games would be at Bob Warn Field on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s game would be at 7 p.m. Sunday’s game, if needed, is tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m.