Harms, Stoltzfus heroics guide Jackrabbits to win

June 24, 2016

KOKOMO, IND. – The “cardiac kids” theme for the Kokomo Jackrabbits on the recent home stand continued to build Thursday, June 23.

Millersville University’s Mitch Stoltzfus and Wayne State University’s Griffin Harms helped lead the Gold and Brown back from a 4-1 last at-bat deficit to a memorable 5-4 16-inning victory over the Butler Bluesox in front of 899 fans at Kokomo Municipal Stadium. Stoltzfus ensured a path to the franchise’s longest game time and inning-wise when he took a 2-0 pitch with one out in the ninth and hit a rocket to left center field for a game-tying three-run round tripper.

“The last thing I wanted to do in that situation was obviously put the ball on the ground,” Stoltzfus, who’s made a huge impression on the Jackrabbits’ followers in three games with two multiple-hit contests as part of a five-of-13, four-RBI effort at the plate, said. “Being honest, I hadn’t hit the ball all that hard in my previous at-bats tonight. I was just looking for a fast ball.

“Playing with this team has been awesome … these guys are all really cool, and I feel like part of the team just three days in,” he added.

Harms, among the top Prospect League hitters’ average-wise (.346), followed with his heroics after a lengthy duel between Kokomo standout relief pitcher Trey Bickel of Indiana University – Southeast and Butler’s Jack Herzing. Following a ninth inning that featured four runs combined for the two teams, Bickel and Herzing sparred for a four-inning battle in extra innings, as Herzing gave up just one hit and struck out seven in five and a two-thirds, and Bickel matched that with a four-inning stint in which he was touched for only two hits and struck out two.

The right fielder, facing Butler’s Shawn Holman, stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 16th with two on and one out. He didn’t wait long, either, blasting a shot early in the count over the Bluesox’ center fielder’s head, plating the winning run four hours and 41 minutes after first pitch time.

“I just wanted to be able to step up and help the team,” he said. “We were able to put ourselves in the chance to come back by our pitching staff keeping us close and playing good defense. Those two things have been big keys to us this season.”

The Jackrabbits, riding a three-game winning streak, take aim at PL Eastern Division-leading West Virginia Friday, June 24. First pitch is 7:05 p.m.

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