News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

June 30, 2012

Rex score 4 before getting first hit, then hang on for win

TERRE HAUTE — With temperatures over 100 degrees Friday, affairs at Bob Warn Field took a walk on the wild side.

The Terre Haute Rex walked 10 times and scored four runs before collecting their first hit against Hannibal Cavemen starter Kevin Lenkman, a Butler University left-hander. That early lead was enough for the Rex — but barely — as the home team gave up four runs with some sloppy defense in the ninth, resulting in a final score of 6-5.

Rex starter Kyle Zimmerman (3-0) retired the first 10 batters he faced in what began as a pitcher’s duel. That changed when Lenkman, who only threw 29 of his 78 pitches for strikes, started to labor.

In the fourth inning alone, the Rex scored four times, taking advantage of five walks, a hit batsmen and a wild pitch. It took a wild play to end the inning too; Jacob Hayes was thrown out at home trying to score on a passed ball.

The Rex finally broke through when Patrick Chandler delivered a pinch-hit single through the right side in the fifth inning.

“It was crazy. I’ve never seen a game like that at any level, never even seen a Little League game like that,” Rex manager Brian Dorsett said. “The guy was pitching to where he was effectively wild, he had a pretty good fastball then all of a sudden he lost his slot, I don’t know.”

Zimmerman was sharp all night except for the top of the fifth inning when Lenkman’s wildness may have become contagious. Zimmerman walked the first two batters in the inning, leading to an unearned run scoring on a throwing error by second baseman Alex Reynolds.

The heat wasn’t difficult at all for Zimmerman, he explained.

“It’s not too bad. Your arm feels great, you’re real loose and everything feels like it’s working pretty good. All you have to do is make sure your hand stays dry,” Zimmerman said. “Me and Brian [Norwood] were on the same page all day. He had a lot of good calls back there.”

Zimmerman lowered his earned-run average to 2.70 on the season.

“He’s just a gamer,” Dorsett said. “He’s using his breaking ball ahead and behind in the count and keeping guys off balanced.”

Billy Timmerman tossed a scoreless eighth and closer Nick Blount allowed two earned runs — four overall — in a sloppy ninth inning for Terre Haute, which is out of contention for a first-half division title.

“We’ve got another tough game tomorrow night. We stay away from the errors, keep the ball low, we’ll be all right,” Zimmerman said.

Terre Haute will play host to Dubois County tonight and visit the Bombers on Sunday for the first-half finale.

The team turns its attention to the second half, which Dorsett was able to manage his team to win in 2011.

“If we clean up our game defensively, it should be a nice opportunity for us to take advantage of going after the second half. But we’ve got to do it defensively,” Dorsett said.

Chandler, who arrived earlier this week, led the Rex with two hits off the bench. The Rockhurst University junior outfielder is 6-for-10 in four games so far with a stolen base.

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