Jacks Jabber - July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017

KOKOMO, IND. – The home stretch featuring the Prospect League’s final 20 games of the 2017 regular season begins tonight (Tuesday, July 18) at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

First-year field manager Gary McClure’s team, sporting a 19-21 record and only three games out of the second playoff spot in the Eastern Division, welcome league rival and fellow Battle for State Highway 26 competitor Lafayette for a 6:35 p.m. start. The Jackrabbits hold an 8-5 edge in the season series, needing only three more victories to ensure the coveted trophy remains in the franchise’s front office. It’s $2 Tuesday at KMS with all in attendance receiving soda, hot dogs, burger and beer for $2 apiece.

The remainder of Brown and Gold’s week includes a home date with the Quincy Gems Wednesday, July 19, at 6:35 p.m. which is highlighted by Family Wednesday, as groups can receive a $20 package including two dugout reserved seats, two hot dogs and two sodas for $20. Kokomo takes to the road for back-to-back 7:05 p.m. match-ups at Chillicothe Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21, and then comes back home for a 7:05 p.m. start against Quincy Saturday, July 22. Fans in attendance are encouraged to show off their Star Wars ware, as special foam wand and mask giveaways are scheduled along with Star Wars character appearances. The span wraps up with a doubleheader at Lafayette’s Loeb Stadium Sunday, July 23, with 3:05 and 5:30 p.m. game times.

KIDS CAMP RIGHT AROUND CORNER: Registration remains open until Friday, July 21, for the first Kokomo Jackrabbits’ Kids Camp. The event is set for Tuesday, July 25, at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

Cost is $50 per person for ages 6-12. Participants receive a dugout reserved ticket for the evening’s Prospect League game against Butler; a t-shirt; a special 15-minute autograph session with members of the Jackrabbits after camp; and a hot dog, water and chips as well as instruction from coaches and players from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on the field turf at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

Interested individuals can register at https://kokomojackrabbitscamp.myshopify.com/.

“MAC” ONE-ON-ONE: As his team moves into “pennant push”, field manager Gary McClure and his staff are hoping to see recent playing levels continue.

“We’ve just been telling the guys they (need to play) at our level and not worry about who we are playing and what they do,” he said. “We feel we’ve been starting to play at a little higher level recently. It comes down to being much more balanced throughout the line-up and being able to help ourselves on the mound despite some guys who’ve left. As I look from now to back at the beginning of the season, we have more depth and the players have really bonded together and gotten comfortable with each other.”

While the losses of such star hurlers as Mike Anthony, Trey Bickel, Will Freeman and Ryne Underwood has been difficult, McClure noted it’s the way summer collegiate competition works out.

“Having players go in and out is how this thing goes, especially in pitching,” he admitted. “The inning limits college coaches have from what individuals pitched during the year, injuries, and so on are part of it. It’s unavoidable … you just have to do the best with what you have.

We’re fortunate to know a lot of people and have an understanding of where key guys are at when we need to bring them in,” he added. “It’s just calling them up and talking them into playing for us. We’ve been successful in the process for the most part.”

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Austin Peay University’s Imani Willis remains consistent at the plate. He’s hit in eight of his last 10 appearances which has helped him remain among the PL’s top 10 in batting average (.339). One of the reasons for his success is the triples category, as his five are tied for the loop lead. Outfielder Luke Fegen of Des Moines Area Community College is close behind with four … Despite a brief time in a Jackrabbits jersey, Pasco-Hernando State College’s Bailey Partlow has been on a tear offensively. He’s hitting .417 with 15 hits in 36 at-bats including four two-baggers. The Westfield, Ind., native goes into the week sporting an eight-game hitting streak … On the mound, Jackrabbits’ staffer Quentin Miller of Butler University has lowered his earned run average to climb into the PL top 10. His 3.82 ERA is ninth-lowest. Strikeouts have been a strong commodity throughout the year for Kokomo. That shows itself on the league stats, as Taylor University’s Tucker Waddups and the University of Missouri’s Josh Konecek are in the top 20 with 36 and 34, respectively.

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