Offense paces Jackrabbits to loss streak stopper

June 7, 2017

KOKOMO, IND. – Kokomo Jackrabbits public address announcer and record keeper Dean Hockney had his nose in the book he so diligently keeps throughout the night Wednesday, June 7.

There was good reason for his bookworm-like status. The Jackrabbits bid adieu to a four-game losing streak rallying from a 4-1 deficit after three and a half frames to turn back Prospect League rival Lafayette 8-4, hitting a franchise single-game best three home runs to boot, in front of better than 1,500 appreciative fans at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

Smiles were plentiful including on the face of first-year field manager Gary McClure.

“I was really happy to see the guys grind out at-bats … working for opportunities to get quality chances,” he noted as Kokomo moved to 3-6 on the young first half of the 2017 campaign. “I was proud of how they battled and came back after trailing early.

“I think this team has potential to develop some consistency moving forward,” he added. “We’re hoping to build (consistency) on the coming road trip as guys get familiar with where they’re playing.”

As for the game’s storyline, the round trippers were at the forefront. Catcher Collin Butkiewicz drilled a three-run home run to turn a 4-2 deficit to a 5-4 lead in the home half of the fourth and first baseman Romero Harris and center fielder Luke Fegan clouted solo shots in the seventh and eighth to help give more breathing room to a bullpen which continues to be among the PL’s best. The three-head monster of Josh Konecek, Trey Bickel and Ryne Underwood blanked the Aviators over the final three frames in supporting of winning hurler Chase Vanek.

Adding to the single-game franchise best mark for big flies, the game marked the fifth multiple home run contest for Kokomo and was the first such June of 2016, while Butkiewicz’ bomb was the club’s first since July of last season and part of a night when he tied a single-game run-batted-in mark (three). The Jackrabbits open a span of seven of their next eight contests on the road, traveling to Eastern Division leading Chillicothe for back-to-back 7:05 p.m. first pitches Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9.

Lafayette           000       400       000       4  6  0
Kokomo             100       401       11x       8  12  0

Chase Vanek, Josh Konecek (7), Trey Bickel (7), Ryne Underwood (9) vs. Jahborus Smith, Brad Depperman (4); Taylor King (7).
WP – Vanek
LP – Ja. Smith
Attendance: 1640

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