Being in the same West Division of the Prospect League, the Terre Haute Rex and Lafayette Aviators are sure to see each other quite often over the course of the summer.
However, the two may not grow more familiar with the other than they have over the course of the previous two days.
Terre Haute made the trip over to Lafayette on Sunday for a doubleheader that saw each come out as the victors with the bats of the winning team looming large.
They combined for 26 runs – 15 by the Rex – and continued that trend Monday evening at Bob Warn Field for the third game between the two in 48 hours.
Offense was not at a premium for either club again, as 22 runs were scored in the "rubber game" of the home-and-home three-game set.
Unfortunately for the Rex, it was the boys in navy blue crossing the plate more often than those in the camouflage royal blue, as Terre Haute fell to Lafayette 12-10.
“Offensively, we’ve done a great job [against Lafayette the last two days]. We’ve scored a lot of runs. We just didn’t stop them. We’d score a crooked number and then we’d give up a crooked number,” Terre Haute Rex manager Tyler Wampler said. “Today, it really took the air out of us.”
The Rex (22-12) scored in each of the first three innings of the night with a six-run first, a three-run second and a one-run third.
Each of the first six hitters to step to the plate for Terre Haute in the opening frame reached base via a walk or hit and all came around to score on RBI singles from Lorenzo Elion, Chris Whelan and Jarrett O’Leary.
Once the 45-minute inning came to a conclusion, the home team held a 6-3 advantage that they added on to with more runs on Elion’s steal of home, O’Leary’s second RBI hit and a wild pitch.
“The way our lineup stacked up today, I felt like there was no easy out,” Wampler said. “They proved that the first three innings.”
The margin of Terre Haute’s lead would shrink quickly, though.
Lafayette responded with two runs off of starting pitcher Kaleb Huxford in the third and three off Colton Panaranto in the fourth.
Panaranto left the mound with runners on first and second and a slim 10-8 lead.
Wampler called on Hunter Kloke to extinguish the fire the Aviators had going on the base paths and the moved paid off in a big way.
After the left-handed reliver walked the first batter he faced, he was able to coax Nathan Torres, who had a two-run double to right in the third, into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
“That was huge. He came in and did a nice job,” Wampler said of Kloke.
Kloke, however, surrendered the lead in the sixth.
Lafayette loaded the bases with a pair of hits and a walk before Torres made his way to the plate looking for vengeance.
And he got it.
The Aviator back stop walloped a fly ball into deep center field to score the tying run and forcing Wampler to make a change on the mound.
This time, he went to right-hander Alec Thomas, who looked like he may wiggle out of the jam after getting the first batter he faced to pop up on the infield.
After a walk to reload the bases, the Aviators finally broke all the way through on Jason Cryar’s two-run single to left, giving them the lead for the first time since the first inning.
The lead held for the remainder of the game thanks in part to the duo of D.J. DePiero, who earned the win, and Matthew Patton, who was credited with the save.
The two combined to throw 5 2/3 innings of one-run baseball after coming on and their team already haven given up nine runs in less than three innings.
“They did exactly what we needed to do,” Wampler said of the Lafayette bullpen. “They gave up some runs early, but they shut it down for the last six innings. We weren’t able to do that today and that’s why we lost.”
Terre Haute visits Danville on Tuesday night.