Nailbiter nightcap win highlights twinbillAugust 2, 2017
LAFAYETTE, IND. – Josh Konecek’s critical save in the late hours of Tuesday, August 1, kept the Kokomo Jackrabbits’ 2017 Battle of State Highway 26 trophy hopes in focus.
The University of Missouri product, moving into a tie for sixth on the Prospect League save roll (three), needed every bit of his craftiness and pitching arsenal to hold off a Lafayette Aviators’ game two comeback.
Holding a 3-1 edge going into the sixth due to the lights out effort from starter Nathan Gear of Oberlin College in which the NCAA Division III hurler struck out six home side hitters and was touched for just five hits in five frames, Konecek was nicked for a run in the sixth to trim the edge to 3-2 before striking out Cory Heffron with two runners on to end the rally. Lafayette’s final offensive attempt was just as tricky, as they loaded the bases due to walks after two strikeouts, much to the delight of the Loeb Stadium crowd, before Evan Kennedy lofted a fly ball to center field that Austin Peay’s Imani Willis tucked away to preserve the split.
The University of Illinois’ Andrew Dyke made the most of his left field start, going two-for-two with two runs scored to spark first-year field manager Gary McClure’s offense in the victory. Kokomo’s one-run triumph off-set a tough opener, as Lafayette scored in every frame to roll past their league rivals 12-1. Willis, keeping his batting title hopes in firm grasp, and Wabash Valley College’s Romero Harris each registered two-hit games to highlight the Brown and Gold’s efforts.
The two rivals continue a four-game set Wednesday and Thursday, August 2 and 3, at Kokomo Municipal Stadium. Game times are 6:35 p.m. each night with the season series tied 9-9 going into the final two meetings.