TERRE HAUTE —
There’s no magic bullet as to why the Terre Haute Rex are off to a first-place start in the second half of the Prospect League season. There’s no one statistical factor that has improved drastically.
So after Terre Haute defeated Hannibal 2-1 at Bob Warn Field on Tuesday to cement its grip on first place, Rex manager Brian Dorsett gave the credit for Terre Haute’s 4-1 second-half start to chemistry.
“I like the blend we’ve got. We have a better idea of what we’re trying to achieve, how the pace of the game should be played, what the players expect out of me, what my goals are for this team. They know I believe in them and I like the way they’re approaching all of it,” Dorsett said.
It’s a blend that is shaped by wins such as the one the Rex got against the Cavemen. Terre Haute wasn’t spectacular, getting just three base hits in the game, but the Rex rode a superior pitching effort by starter Michael Hachadorian and took advantage of Cavemen mistakes in the field to eek out a victory that does worlds of good for Terre Haute’s confidence.
“It’s always good to get those one-run games. It shows what a team can do. If you can win and hold off [the other team] in a one-run game it makes you think you can do anything. You need to score runs to win, so it’s a big deal that we got this one,” said Rex right fielder Chris Carlson.
Hachadorian went 72⁄3 innings for the Rex, allowing just one run. He struck out five and walked four, but was at his best when the Cavemen had runners on base. Hannibal runners were stranded in scoring position in four of Hachadorian’s innings.
Hannibal did cash in on one opportunity to take the lead in the fourth. Matt Burton singled to right, followed by a Shelby Anderson double to deep center which scored Burton to make it 1-0. After a walk, Hachadorian bore down and retired the side.
The Rex, who bore no fruit after having had runners in scoring position in the second and third innings, broke through in the fifth. Joel Licon, picked up during the All-Star break, led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. After Ray Hernandez sacrificed Licon to third, Kyle Burnam knocked Licon in with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
The aggressive Licon was pivotal when Terre Haute scored the winning run in the seventh, though he was helped by a Hannibal defensive meltdown. Licon reached on a two-out error by Hannibal shortstop L.J. Watson.
Alex DeLeon was up to drive in the potential two-out, go-ahead run, but he never came into play. Hannibal pitcher Steven Barnes threw a wild pitch, and Hannibal compounded its woes when catcher Zach Warrick wasn’t able to locate the ball at the backstop. Licon advanced two bases on the wild pitch. Barnes’ next pitch bounced off Warrick’s glove and trickled to the backstop again. Licon scored easily on the passed ball to make it 2-1.
“I was kind of surprised to get on base. I just kept my head up and read them all right. With every ball in the dirt, it should just be automatic to anyone to take advantage of it. It was a good day on the basepaths overall,” Licon said.
Though the Rex had only three base hits, Dorsett wasn’t discouraged by the offensive output.
“We hit the ball well tonight, we just didn’t hit them in the holes. When we did put a couple of things together, it worked in our favor and they made a few mistakes that worked in our favor,” Dorsett said.
The Rex will have to protect their Central Division lead on the road for the balance of the week. A three-game road trip begins at Dubois County tonight, followed by games at Danville and Dupage before the Rex return home Saturday to host Danville.
Rex 2, Hannibal 1
Hannibal ab r h bi TH ab r h bi
Hildreth 2b 5 0 0 0 Burnam lf 3 0 0 1
Watson ss 4 0 1 0 Kraemer 2b 4 0 0 0
Fiala 3b 4 0 1 0 Earley cf 3 0 0 0
Porter lf 3 0 0 0 Carlson rf 3 0 0 0
Richey rf 3 0 0 0 Guthrie 1b 2 0 1 0
Burton cf 4 1 1 0 Meggs dh 3 0 0 0
Anderson 1b 3 0 1 1 Licon 3b 3 2 1 0
Hermsen dh 2 0 0 0 DeLeon c 2 0 1 0
Warrick c 2 0 0 0 Hernandez ss 1 0 0 0
Totals 30 1 4 1 Totals 24 2 3 1
Hannibal 000 100 000 — 1
Terre Haute 000 010 100 — 2
E — Watson (7). LOB — H 9, TH 3. 2B — Anderson (5); SH — Warrick, Hernandez 2. SF — Burnam (3). SB — Watson (15). CS — DeLeon.
IP H R ER BB SO
Barnes (L, 1-4) 8 3 2 1 2 4
Hachadorian (W, 2-2) 7 2/3 4 1 1 4 5
Dorsett 1/3 0 0 0 0 0
Purcell (SV, 4) 1 0 0 0 1 2
WP — Barnes 2 (4). PB — Warrick 2. HBP — by Hachardorian (Warrick).
T — 2:00. A — 920.
Next — The Rex (4-1) play at Dubois County tonight.