Memorable 2016 campaign closesAugust 9, 2016
BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA – The West Virginia Miners, Prospect League first and second half Eastern Division champions, advanced to the 2016 PL championship series Monday, Aug. 8, topping the Kokomo Jackrabbits 10-2 in game two of their divisional series at Linda K. Epling Field.
The loss, which wrapped up the Gold and Brown’s overall season mark at 31-31, saw the end of a rollercoaster final week for the Jackrabbits. Kokomo earned its first PL playoff berth behind a resounding 14-1 win over league rival Lafayette at Kokomo Municipal Stadium August 6, a victory that also gave them the Battle of Route 26 Classic trophy for having won the head-to-head series over the Aviators 5-3. Meanwhile, everything else fell into place that night as a Champion City squad, who had been perched on the verge of a playoff opportunity, was swept by Butler to allow Kokomo entrance into the postseason.
After a hard-fought 3-1 loss at home in Game One August 7, the Gold and Brown opened quickly on the road Tuesday. A pair of walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases with one out, and outfielder Cole Nieto of Baldwin-Wallace University scraped out an infield single to plate the game’s first tally. However, the hosts worked around what could have been a bigger start with a putout at home and a fielder’s choice to end the frame. An RBI triple in the bottom of the inning tied the contest at 1-1 which is where it stayed until the Miners took control with back-to-back two-run outbursts in the fourth and fifth and five runs in the seventh.
Outfielder Griffin Harms of Wayne State University led the Jackrabbits’ offense with three hits and the lone run scored. Bullpen standout Ryne Underwood of Indiana University – Southeast battled throughout his first PL start, striking out five over four and a third, but the home side nicked him for five runs on six hits.