Jackrabbits Growing into Expansion Team Role, Finding Success EarlyJuly 9, 2015
Forming an expansion team, in any sport, is always a huge risk. The time, effort and money that go into a new team are something many people do not fully understand. When things go wrong, fans make sure to voice their displeasure. However, when a community gets behind a new a club and they perform on the field it turns heads league-wide.
“The Jackrabbits are starting to look good, they are winning at home and are improving as a whole” stated Prospect League Commissioner, Bryan Wickline. “They are proving that the West Division will be a lot of fun to watch during the second half of the season, especially if they continue to get better.”
Let’s review the first part of the season for the Jackrabbits. The team finished with a 15-14 record that places them third in the West Division and 6.5 games out of first place. As a whole, the Jackrabbits tallied the fifth most hits in the first half with 232. Kokomo also tied for second in home runs with eight.
The Jackrabbits bats took some time to find their rhythm but a vast majority of the team’s success in the batter’s box came from Mark Zimmerman. The standout second baseman/pitcher, leads the team in almost every hitting category.
He holds a team high .308 batting average while tallying 36 hits, 11 of those doubles, which is second best in the league. He also holds a team high 19 RBI’s. Zimmerman is the type of player who can change the dynamic and flow of a game, depending on his performance.
On top of Zimmerman’s success, the Jackrabbits boast several other dangerous offensive weapons. Milo Freeman leads the team in triples, with two and holds a .255 batting average. Joining him is Chris Folinusz, a promising talent at catcher. Folinusz leads the team in home runs with three and is tied for second across the Prospect League.
From the mound, the Jackrabbits have seen high production from Jarrett Bednar. The lanky pitcher leads the club with a 4-0 record and holds an impressive .66 ERA, which is second best league wide. During this 27.1 innings pitched, Bednar has struck out 25 batters and walked only four.
The Jackrabbits pitching staff have silenced 205 batters this season, which ranks fifth league wide. Ryan Fleming leads the team with 28 strike outs and holds a 3.03 ERA during the first half of the season. Zimmerman has also added 24 strike outs of his own to the teams overall total.
Along with the success on the field, the Jackrabbits also received a tremendous award recognizing their newly built, Kokomo Municipal Stadium. Ballparkdigest.com created a list of the 32 best Summer Collegiate Ballparks across the United States and after several rounds of voting, Kokomo Municipal was crowned champion of the ballparks.
“This award is big news for the organization and is something they should be very proud of. We consider their stadium to be one of the jewels of the Prospect League and know it is close to achieving “affiliated” status with an MLB team. The Mayor, staff and organization as a whole should be proud of the incredible stadium in Kokomo” offered Commissioner Wickline.
With half the season in the rearview mirror, the Jackrabbits look ahead to the remainder of the year. The opportunity to qualify for the Prospect League playoffs is highly attainable if the club remains consistent in there play.
The buzz around the city regarding the Jackrabbits is incredible to see and hear about. Fans have taken this opportunity to embrace a new team and make the coaching staff and players feel welcome and wanted.
Kokomo controls its own destiny for the remainder of the season and looks to bring home their first of many Prospect League titles.