News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Terre Haute Rex

July 27, 2012

Travel baseball teams enjoy busy summer

TERRE HAUTE — With a young daughter active in both softball and volleyball, Tony Smodilla, was well aware of the ample Terre Haute-based travel sports options available to its aspiring young athletes.

Yet that same Terre Haute-based travel option wasn’t available to his baseball-playing son.

So in the past two or three years, the increase in local travel baseball options has been led by three groups,  Indiana (formerly Terre Haute) Havoc, Riley Recreation League and Junior Rex.

“Volleyball, soccer, swimming … softball has been doing it forever,” Indiana Havoc director Smodilla stated. “Travel was available for everything except baseball it seemed. Now there is an option besides driving to Indianapolis.”

In the “older” days, options for most players were limited to playing in their respective Little Leagues, hope to make an All-Star team, play in the tournament, then take the rest of the summer off.

Now those same top-level players can play together longer and consistently play against better competition. At the same time, this increases playing opportunities for the next-tier and the recreation player too.

The following is a look at what is happening on the local travel baseball scene with the Riley, Havoc and Junior Rex programs:


“We struggled for several years at Riley trying to figure out how to have travel ball, league ball and all-stars coexist out of one facility,” Riley Rec League’s Tim Hayes stated. “We had to bite the bullet and start travel ball, because we had kids that were going to either leave our program and had already left our program.

“The kids that are up to being travel caliber players want to start playing against other travel-caliber players in April, May and June, instead of waiting halfway through June, play a couple tournaments and being done.”

This year, Riley fielded travel squads from ages 8U to 12U. Next year, 13U will be added to the mix. Hayes’ 12U team won the USSSA AA Indiana State Championship this season, its players coming from Riley and Clay County. “Travel is open to anybody within driving distance,” Hayes added.

“We hope someday to offer travel ball through 15U,” Hayes predicted. “Our hope is that someday we can have a travel squad, maybe two squads in each age group and then still have all-stars.”

Hayes pointed out other factors why Riley took the travel plunge.

“There’s been such a big shift in how Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth were handling their all-star tournaments,” Hayes said. “Used to be Cal Ripken had North and South state tournaments, but their numbers went up, so now they have North, Central and South state tournaments.

“[Cal Ripken] also has two tournament trails now for 11- and 12-year-olds. 46 (foot pitching mound)/60 (foot basepaths) or standard Little League, no dropped third strike, no leadoffs and 50/70, which is modified high school rules. That’s 12 “state” championships for ages 11 and 12. So when you win a state title, you don’t feel like you won a state title.”

“Across Central Indiana, travel ball had taken its toll on Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth already, because it’s easy to play travel ball in metropolitan areas. So around Indianapolis, travel ball is very much alive and well.”

While offering travel ball, Hayes says Riley leaving Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth is not in the cards.

“We are going to continue to be aligned with Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth … for players not wanting to play travel ball, or not be selected for travel ball,” Hayes said. “At Riley, we’re trying to appeal to everyone. We want to appeal to the recreational player, appeal to the all-star caliber player and appeal to the travel player.”

Hayes agreed opportunities will be greater for Riley’s non-travel players too.

“It’s the policy of our program you can’t be on both teams [travel and all-stars], they play at the same time, so it’s one or the other,” he noted. “Besides, it takes a spot away from somebody else.

“We did a lot of talking about [travel] for a lot of years without making a decision. You just can’t bury your head in the sand and think that travel ball was not here to stay, because it is. You either have to offer that or you’re going to lose those kids.”

Indiana Havoc

The Havoc just completed its second year, this year fielding teams in the age groups of 8U, 9U, 11U, 12U, 13U and 14U. Next fall the league will add 15U.

“In the future we hope to have teams up to age 17, multiple teams in each age group could be a possibility,” Smodilla said. “Each year we keep getting bigger … we have over 70 players now. My 13U team has played about 60 games this year.”

Havoc players come from five different Indiana counties, including Vigo, Parke, Clay, Sullivan and Vermillion.

“We’ve received interest for next year from players in Greencastle, Vincennes and Casey, Ill.,” Smodilla said. “We’re on the right track. The kids want an opportunity to play at a higher level and get better. This can only help the high school programs all around [the area] in the long run.”

The Havoc teams use various playing fields for practice, including Northview, Gibault and Terre Haute North.

“It’s hard not having a dedicated facility, a lack of a home base,” Smodilla admitted. “But for beginning our third year, it’s not been too bad. There is a need and a desire for [travel], not just in Terre Haute, but around the area.”

Havoc teams have enjoyed much success this year, the 12U and 13U winning five tournaments apiece, the 8U and 11U teams each winning three titles. The 11U team recently won the USSSA World Series in Columbus, then was runner-up in the Grand Slam World Series in Panama City, Fla.

Just recently, the organization has dropped the Terre Haute designation and become the Indiana Havoc. “We’ll still be based out of Terre Haute,” Smodilla assured. “When we go to tournaments and people ask ‘where are you from?’ we’ll still say Terre Haute.”

Many programs suffer from parents who are only involved as long as their children are involved, but Smodilla says he and the Havoc are in it for the long haul.

“We’re going to be around a long time … have no intention to leave when my son goes out of the program,” he stated.

Junior Rex

This is the second year for the Junior Rex, fielding a 12U team last year, a 13U team this year, and will return with a 14U team next season, according to manager Stan Dennany.

“We started this as a supplement to league ball … I’m a big proponent of league ball,” Dennany said. “But travel ball is a better level of competition for the kids.”

Last year’s 12U team consisted of players from Riley, Clay Youth League and Terre Haute North and most played in all-stars last year in their respective leagues.

This year, the team has players from the same three sources, and has added a couple players from Marshall, Ill. Also this year, the Junior Rex — by vote of the parents, according to Dennany — decided to play exclusively travel ball.

“Travel ball gives the more experienced players better competition, but it also allows opportunities for next-level players to play at the all-star level … ones that wouldn’t normally make [an all-star] team,” Dennany said.

A major highlight this season, the Junior Rex competed in The Stars & Stripes Tourney at The Cal Ripken Experience in Aberdeen, Md. from July 1-6.

“That was a great experience, great memories for the kids,” Dennany stated. “We played some loaded teams there, from Louisiana, Florida, New York, Missouri and North Carolina.

The Rex play most of its tournaments in Indianapolis, Columbus and Champaign, Ill. Last weekend, they hosted The Rexperience Battle On The Bash at Bob Warn Field. Riley and the Rex competed in that event.



Indiana Havoc

Dates: Aug. 18-19

Ages: 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U, 13U, 14U, 15U

For locations and info:

Riley Rec League

Date: Aug. 12

Ages: 7u, 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U, 13U

For info: (click on travel tab)

Junior Rex

Date: Aug. 5 and 12

Ages: 14U

For info: contact Stan Dennany (812) 243-4107

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Terre Haute Rex
  • SPT073114rexsabo:moore.jpg Two homers help Rex emerge victorious over Springfield 3-1

    The Terre Haute Rex rank second among the 12 Prospect League baseball teams in extra-base hits and Zach Welz, Kaden Moore and Tony Rosselli added to the Rex 2014 haul at Bob Warn Field in a 3-1 win over Springfield on Thursday.
    Kaden Moore put up the Rex’s first run with a line-drive home run over the left-field wall in the second inning. Welz added his homer in the seventh — with a no-doubt blast to left to add an insurance run.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rex fall to Miners 4-3 in 11 innings, forcing them into tie with Quincy for first place

    The West Virginia Miners tallied the go-ahead run with two outs in the top of the 11th inning Wednesday night at Bob Warn Field, then held Terre Haute scoreless in the bottom half of the frame to post a 4-3 baseball victory and shove the Rex into a virtual tie for first place with the Quincy Gems in the Prospect League West Division second-half standings.
    Terre Haute is now 18-8 in the second half, while Quincy is 19-9.

    July 31, 2014

  • SPT 072914 ROSSELLI STEAL.jpg Sabo's 11th-inning double keeps Rex in first place

    Ryan Sabo, a Southern Illinois infielder, was one of several Terre Haute Rex players to come up short in RBI situations through nine innings, but he redeemed himself in the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-out double to center field to lift the Rex to a 2-1 victory over West Virginia.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Degano2.jpg Bullpen mates: Three relievers coming on strong down stretch for Rex

    The Terre Haute Rex pitching staff ranks fifth among the 12 teams in the Prospect League in earned-run average this season and first in the league with only four home runs allowed all summer. But the Rex pitchers might be the best in the league the past two weeks as the team has had two shutouts and two games with one run allowed in the past week.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro: Rex maintain pace in West race

    The Terre Haute Rex maintained pace in the tight Prospect League West Division race with a 2-1 victory over the Springfield Sliders at Robin Roberts Stadium.

    July 29, 2014

  • Rex pull even with Gems in West Division

    Rex beat Quincy 2-1.

    July 24, 2014

  • Prospect League: Rex crush Cavemen

    One day after an errror-filled 13-inning loss to Springfield at home, the Terre Haute Rex cleaned up their act on the road. There were no errors, and for the Hannibal Cavemen, no runs either. Terre Haute's six-run fourth inning broke the game open as the Rex won 10-0 late Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Rex recover with 10-0 win over Hannibal

    Rex beat Hannibal 10-0 on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Newcomer pitches Rex to win at Danville

    Clint Chestnut made his first start as a member of the Terre Haute Rex a good one Saturday evening, allowing just three hits in 5 2/3 innings as the Rex won 2-1 at Danville.

    July 19, 2014

  • SPT071814 rex jacknewitz.jpg Lockdown: Rex’s Jacknewitz stifles Cavemen before record home crowd

    Greg Jacknewitz had his best start of the summer, taking a shutout into the eighth inning to earn a big ovation from the biggest crowd in the five years of the Terre Haute Rex franchise.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT071714 rex moralez.jpg Rex beat Chillicothe 3-1

    The Terre Haute defense backed Andrew Moralez with four double plays in his initial trip to the mound for the Rex on Thursday at Bob Warn Field as a season-high 1,184 fans watched a three-game losing streak come to a close.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gems take two from Rex, drop Terre Haute to second place

    The Terre Haute Rex managed just one run in 16 innings Tuesday at Quincy, dropping both games of a doubleheader to the Gems, who took over first place in the West Division with the wins.

    July 16, 2014

  • SPT 071214 RYAN SABO.jpg Gems cut Rex hold on first place to 1/2 game

    As good as the Terre Haute Rex have been in the second half of the Prospect League season — the Rex had lost just once entering Saturday's game against the Quincy Gems — the Gems themselves have given the Rex little reason to feel comfortable atop the West Division.

    July 13, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro sports: Rosselli, Biechler capture Prospect League honors

    The Terre Haute Rex swept the Prospect League Player of the Week honors this week.

    July 11, 2014

  • Rex return from All-Star break with a win at Danville

    The Terre Haute Rex returned to action on Thursday in winning fashion as they defeated Danville 4-1.

    July 11, 2014

  • MET070814 allstar rosselli.jpg Prospect League All-Star Game: East makes early lead stick in 9-2 victory

    The West Division will have to overcome the East Division having home-field advantage for the second straight year in the Prospect League's championship series. The East jumped out to an early lead on its way to a 9-2 victory in the Prospect League all-star baseball game Tuesday night.
    Like the Butler Blue Sox and West Virginia Miners in the East, Terre Haute can turn its focus to battling for a second-half title to earn a playoff berth.

    July 8, 2014 4 Photos

  • Rosselli gets close to winning Derby, but River Rat triumphs

    Terre Haute’s Tony Rosselli didn’t disappoint the hometown baseball fans Tuesday night, powering his way to eight home runs at Bob Warn Field.
    But Rosselli lost in a five-out tiebreaker round in the finals to Kyle Jackson of the Richmond River Rats to take second place in the Prospect League’s Home Run Derby.

    July 8, 2014

  • SPT 070514 JEFF ZAHN REX.jpg Shining stars: Rex manager Segal to lead West Division tonight at Bob Warn Field

    Terre Haute Rex first-year manager Bobby Segal will guide the West Division against the East Division, managed by Chillicothe’s Greg Cypret, in the Prospect League all-star baseball game, scheduled for tonight at Terre Haute’s Bob Warn Field at Sycamore Stadium.

    July 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: McVicker brings home 3 gold medals

    Jack McVicker of Terre Haute won three gold medals in the IBJJF Paris Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament on June 28-29 in France.

    July 7, 2014

  • SPT 070514 TONY ROSSELLI.jpg Indiana State's Rosselli, Zahn providing power boost to Rex

    The Terre Haute Rex will have a pair of Indiana State baseball players among its 11 representatives in Tuesday’s Prospect League All-Star Game at Bob Warn Field.
    First baseman Jeff Zahn will start at first base for the West Division squad coached by Bobby Segal, and Terre Haute native Tony Rosselli will be a reserve outfielder.
    Rosselli hit his fifth and sixth home runs of the season Saturday to lead the Rex to their sixth straight win behind big offensive performances. The Rex have totaled 51 runs during their past five wins to start the second half of the season.

    July 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 070514 REX RUN.jpg Rex roll to sixth straight victory Saturday

    When the Terre Haute Rex get five runs in a game? Bank on a victory. Often times, they get far more than that.
    So it was again on Saturday. A four-run fourth inning helped the Rex defeat Hannibal 8-2 in front of 1,028 fans at Bob Warn Field.

    July 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rex roll to 18-2 triumph

    The Terre Haute Rex cruised to an 18-2 victory over Springfield on Friday night, one night after scoring 15 runs.

    July 4, 2014

  • ISU players key Rex to 3-0 start in second half

    The Terre Haute Rex improved to 3-0 in the second half of the Prospect League schedule with a 5-1 victory Wednesday at Quincy.

    July 2, 2014

  • Rex pick up 5-2 victory at Quincy

    The Terre Haute Rex (18-13) and the Quincy Gems (17-12) each put runners in scoring position on Tuesday, but the Terre Haute Rex capitalized on more RBI opportunities, pulling out a 5-2 win at Quincy Stadium.

    July 1, 2014

  • Rex get 10 players on West All-Stars

    The Terre Haute Rex will have 10 players take the field July 8 for the Prospect League All-Star Game at Bob Warn Field.
    Manuel DeJesus, who is batting .368 on the season, will be in the starting lineup for the West Division, which will be led by Rex manager Bobby Segal.
    Rex third baseman Ryan Sabo, a .244 hitter, will start for the West, along with designated hitter Cayce Bredleau, a .276 hitter with a home run and 16 RBI through 28 games.

    July 1, 2014

  • Rex down Hannibal Cavemen, 7-5

    The Terre Haute Rex got back on the winning track Monday night in Prospect League baseball, scoring twice in the top of the first inning and leading the rest of the way for a 7-5 win over the Hannibal Cavemen.

    June 30, 2014

  • SPT062714rex caton.jpg Dans’ Sutton shuts down Rex

    The Terre Haute Rex needed victories Friday night against Danville and Sunday against Hannibal to clinch a Prospect League playoff spot as the first-half West Division champion.

    June 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rex win 16-4 at Hannibal

    n Terre Haute 16, Hannibal 4 — At Hannibal, Mo., the visiting Rex scored six runs in the top of the second inning Thursday night and coasted home to salvage the final game of a three-game series.

    June 26, 2014

  • Rex fall again to Cavemen, dropping into tie for first place

    The Terre Haute Rex lost for the third straight night Wednesday, falling 8-2 in the second game of a three-game series at Hannibal, Mo.
    The Rex jumped ahead of the Cavemen early in the game with a 2-1 lead in the second, but Hannibal scored three in the fifth and four in the seventh to take the victory.

    June 26, 2014

  • Rex drop first of three-game series to Cavemen

    The Terre Haute Rex dropped their second straight game Tuesday night at Hannibal, Mo., falling to the Cavemen by a 5-1 score.

    June 25, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Raw: Deadly Taiwan Gas Leak Explosion Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Family Dispute Cripples Northeast Grocery Chain LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010