With one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Reed Hjelle rocketed a three-run homer to right-center field to lift the Terre Haute Rex summer baseball team over the Chillicothe Paints 7-6 in Prospect League action Friday at Bob Warn Field.
Hjelle enjoyed a great overall performance, finishing 4 for 5 with four runs batted in. Ethan Hunter, a Terre Haute South High School graduate, knocked in the Rex's other three runs with an RBI single in the fifth and a two-run bomb off the "Dorsett Automotive" sign in left field in the seventh.
That roundtripper, along with Hjelle's RBI single that plated Justin Jenkins soon afterward, pulled Terre Haute within 5-4. The visitors had opened the game with four runs in the top of the first frame, highlighted by Trey Smith's two-run homer off Rex starting pitcher Foster Anshutz.
Colten Panaranto, the home team's fourth pitcher of the night, got credit for the victory, although he allowed one Chillicothe run in the top of the ninth that made the score 6-4. That came on Gavin Homer's sacrifice fly to center that sent Cody Orr sprinting home.
The Rex kicked off the bottom off the ninth with Mitchell Garrity reaching on a fielding error. One out later, Jacob Mulcahy singled to put runners on first and second base. That set the stage for Hjelle, who took Austin Calopietro's offering too deep for the center fielder to reach and sent the Rex fans home happy.
Hunter ended up 2 for 4, as did Rex catcher Brett McCleary. Teammate A.J. Fritz was 2 for 3 with a hit-by-pitch.
"Tonight showed us coaches and the Rex fans what type of team we have," Rex manager Tyler Wampler told the Tribune-Star. "To be down 4-0 after the first inning and claw our way back to give ourselves a chance in the ninth to win was exciting to see."
Friday's matchup was the fourth straight for the Rex and Paints against each other, with Terre Haute winning three of them. The previous three took place in Chillicothe.
The Rex will finally get a different opponent Saturday night when West Virginia visits Bob Warn Field for a 7:05 clash.