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Published On: June 11th, 2024

When Connor Throneberry exited the game in the sixth inning, Kokomo sat comfortably with a 3-0 lead. The Jackrabbits were confident, having pitched a shutout up until the eighth inning, and they were on the verge of securing back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

However, as Kokomo turned to their bullpen late in the game, the Royal Oak Leprechauns smelled blood in the water. With two outs in the top of the eighth and the bases loaded, Royal Oak’s Oliver Service picked up his first hit of the season, sending a ground ball into left field to score two runs. Service’s two-RBI single cut the score to 3-2, igniting what would turn into a defensive collapse for the Jackrabbits.

Needing just three outs in the top of the ninth to secure the win, Kokomo was unaware of the disaster looming. The Leprechauns didn’t just take the lead in the ninth inning; they decimated Kokomo’s momentum, scoring eight runs in one inning and 10 unanswered over the eighth and ninth innings combined.

Despite Kokomo’s starter Connor Throneberry retiring 13 straight batters up until the fifth inning, Royal Oak was determined to end their four-game road trip on a high note. After the Jackrabbits scored eight unanswered runs in their comeback win on Sunday, the Leprechauns responded the following evening in almost identical fashion. 

After Eric Fettinger exited after hitting Royal Oak’s leadoff man Michael Lareau to open the ninth, left-hander Cy Miller was tasked with finishing the game. A stolen base and a balk later, Royal Oak’s Riley Frost tied the game with an RBI single to center, breaking his bat in the process. 

With the score now tied at 3-3, Royal Oak loaded the bases again through a hit-by-pitch and a successful bunt. Jacob Billings then sent in the go-ahead run with a groundout to third baseman Michael Flaherty.

On that same play, Kokomo first baseman John Curl made an errant throw to third base, allowing Royal Oak to extend the lead 5-3. 

A hit-by-pitch, three walks, catcher’s interference, an error, and a balk helped the Leprechauns tack on five more runs, giving them a 10-3 lead.

Monday night’s 10-3 loss is an unfortunate blow for a Jackrabbits team that is just now starting to find their rhythm. The Kokomo Jackrabbits have no choice but to flush the loss, and gear up for a six-game road trip across Michigan and Illinois. 

The Jackrabbits, now 2-11, are set to play a two-game series against the Traverse City Pit Spitters, Rockford Rivets, and Battle Creek Battle Jacks. They will then return back to Kokomo Municipal Stadium on June 18th to face the Rockford Rivets for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. 

Article written by Charlie Huiras