TERRE HAUTE —
Having begun its fourth season as a member of the Prospect League, the Terre Haute Rex summer baseball team had never won seven games in a row.
That is, until now.
Getting three runs batted in from cleanup hitter Ricky Sanchez, the Rex slipped past the Danville Dans 4-3 in front of 803 spectators Thursday night at Bob Warn Field. It was their seventh consecutive victory, which surpassed the previous team record of six.
“I really didn't even know that [until Thursday night],” Rex first-year manager Ronnie Prettyman told the Tribune-Star afterward. “It's cool. It's awesome. It's a good thing.
“What I tell these guys, though, is it doesn't really matter what we've done so far. We've just got to show up ready to play tomorrow and that's what we're going to do. Hopefully, we'll make it eight [in a row today].”
The Rex (7-1) boosted their lead atop the West Division standings to 1 1/2 games over the second-place Quincy Gems (5-2), whom the Rex will face at 7:05 tonight at Bob Warn Field.
“We've got [right-handed pitcher] Kendal Paluch going,” Prettyman mentioned.
On Thursday, Danville jumped ahead 1-0 with an unearned run in the top of the first inning. So the Rex responded with three of their own in the bottom of the first.
Tyler Wampler and Nick Johnson led off with singles, then Andrew Cope reached base on a fielder's choice. That set the table for Sanchez, who lined a triple into the gap in right-center field to plate Wampler and Cope. Then Sanchez trotted home on a single to right by Nate Arnold.
The score remained the same until the fifth when Danville tallied another unearned run to pull within 3-2. Rex starting pitcher Michaelangelo Guzman gave up both unearned runs in his five innings of work, striking out three and walking two batters while allowing only two hits.
The visitors threatened to tie the score in the sixth — with runners on first and second base and two outs — when Justin Stawychny singled sharply to left. With lead runner Spencer Herrmann being waved home as he rounded third, Rex left fielder Kalik May quickly threw the ball to third baseman Atlee Schwab, who in turn fired a strike to catcher Zach Evans, who tagged the sliding Herrmann for the third out.
The Dans did tie the score at 3-3 with a run in the eighth when Herrmann doubled down the left-field line, Chad Klein reached on an infield single and Adam Casson lofted a sacrifice fly to left.
But the home team answered with the decisive run in the bottom of the eighth. With two outs, Kyle Zimmerman and Cope singled and Sanchez followed with a bloop single to center that brought home Zimmerman from second with the Rex's fourth run of the contest.
“He's coming around,” Prettyman said of Sanchez, a Miami resident who plays college baseball for Notre Dame. “He's working on some stuff. He got some big hits for us today. It was really clutch.”
Prettyman summoned righty Taylor Krugh, the Rex's fifth pitcher of the night, to finish off the Dans one-two-three in the ninth and pick up his first save of the season.
“We really feel confident that anybody we throw out there can get the job done,” Prettyman said of his pitching staff. “Everybody that came in threw strikes and did a good job for us. When you have that many guys on the bench that you can go to, it's just a bonus.”
One negative note for the Rex was the three errors they committed. Two were by Guzman.
“Our defense has played outstanding this season,” Prettyman assessed. “We had a little bit of a down night tonight. But so far, I've been really happy with our defense, so I'm not going to complain about it. They had a rough night tonight, but it happens. It's baseball. Sometimes you make errors.”
Terre Haute 4, Danville 3
DANVILLE (AB-R-H-RBI) — Thomas cf 5-0-1-0, Fletcher rf 3-1-0-0, Simoneaux c 4-0-0-0, Herrmann dh 3-1-2-0, Klein 3b 4-0-1-0, Casson 1b 3-0-1-1, Stawychny lf 4-1-2-0, Selesky 2b 3-0-0-0, Buddle ss 2-0-0-0, Albano ph 1-0-0-0. TOTALS 32-3-7-1.
TERRE HAUTE (AB-R-H-RBI) — Wampler ss 4-1-2-0, Johnson 2b 2-0-1-0, Zimmerman ph-1b 2-1-1-0, Cope 1b-rf 4-1-2-0, Sanchez cf 4-1-2-3, Gardner rf-2b 4-0-0-0, Arnold dh 3-0-1-1, Schwab 3b 3-0-0-0, Evans c 3-0-0-0, May lf 3-0-0-0. TOTALS 32-4-9-4.
Danville 100 010 010 — 3
Terre Haute 300 000 01x — 4
E — Guzman 2, Johnson, Buddle. DP — Danville 1, Terre Haute 1. LOB — Danville 7, Terre Haute 4. 2B — Herrmann. 3B — Sanchez. SH — Buddle. SF — Casson. CS — Wampler.
WP — Guzman 2. T — 1:56. Att. — 803.
Next — The West Division-leading Rex (7-1) will play host to the second-place Quincy Gems (5-2) at 7:05 tonight. Danville fell to 2-4.