News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Terre Haute Rex

June 27, 2011

Formula for ‘team win’

Rex pull together to recover from rough start in 3-2 win over Quincy

TERRE HAUTE — You hear about “team wins” a lot in postgame commentaries. A few are deserved, but most times it’s just a bunch of hooey.

For the Terre Haute Rex, all nine positions in their batting order and all three of their pitchers made key contributions in their 3-2 victory over the Quincy Gems to the delight of 954 fans in a Prospect League game at Warn Field on Sunday.

If that’s not a formula for a “team win,” there is no such thing.

Rex starter Daniel Heefner struggled in the first inning, allowing the Gems to assume a quick 2-0 lead. Travis Becherer, Andrew Host and Chris Serritella greeted Heefner with consecutive singles, loading the bases with nobody out.

Heefner fanned Bryan Lippincott, then splintered the bat of the next hitter, John Pace. The ball was fielded on one hop by Rex second baseman Derek Hannahs, stepped on second for a force out. But his throw to first that could have completed a double play soared into the Gems’ dugout for an error — two runs scoring on the play.

Heefner settled down, not allowing another run in his six innings on the mound. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, then stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the sixth.

“It was great to see Heefner get through that first inning, made some quality pitches,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett said.

“Could have easily gotten out of it without any runs scored,” Dorsett said. “Excited to see how he finished. Originally didn’t come here to be a starting pitcher and has worked his way into the starting rotation. Just did a tremendous job.”

After four relief appearances to begin his time with the Rex, Heefner has now allowed just four earned runs in 21 innings in three straight starts, sporting a nifty 1.50 earned run average.

Relievers Ronnie Mitchell and Chris Bossenbery closed the door over the final three innings. Mitchell was the winning pitcher, improving to 1-1, while Bossenbery earned his second save.

The top four in the Rex batting order managed to tie the game at 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning, both runs scoring without benefit of a hit or an official at bat.

Chris Manning and Lucas Hileman walked, both moving into scoring position on a wild pitch by Gems’ starter Neil Hudson — who had faced the minimum nine batters in the first three innings.

Joe Meggs plated Manning with a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing Hileman to reach third. Koby Kraemer also managed a sacrifice on a short fly ball to center, Hileman scoring to knot the score.

“Took advantage of a couple things that went in our favor,” Dorsett noted. “Kraemer and Meggs with big sacrifice flies. Lucas Hileman reading the ball, tagging up at second base to get to third with less than two outs.”

Leading off the bottom of the seventh, the next three batters in the Rex lineup put their team in the lead for keeps.

Chris Roglen singled and was sacrifice-bunted to second by Nick Johnson. Brett Teschner hit a sky-high blooper which landed just inside the right-field foul line midway between first base and the right-field corner, scoring Roglen for a 3-2 lead.

The bottom two spots in the Rex batting order — both defensive replacements in the eighth inning — made their mark in the winning cause, flashing some leather.

The Gems put runners at first and second in both the eighth and ninth innings, only to see both scoring threats squelched by 4-6-3 double plays — Cameron Fagg to Jacob Hayes to Meggs — the latter twin-killing ending the game.

“The past few games I haven’t been playing a lot, so when I get a chance to play I take advantage of it,” Fagg said. “I just make sure I’m mentally ready … help the team win. With that close of a game, you feed off the adrenaline rush and do what you can.”

“It’s tough to come off the bench like that and make some big defensive plays,” Dorsett said. “Very proud of [Fagg] and Jacob [Hayes]. You hope to see guys put in that position do that.”

The Rex (12-11) closed to within 41⁄2 games of West Division-leading Quincy (15-5). The two teams play again at Warn Field at 7:05 p.m. today.

“We’re playing some good ball right now,” Fagg stated. “[Quincy] is the best team in the league, but we went out there with a mindset and got it done.”

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