HOWARD COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES SEVEN-MEMBER CLASS OF 2018

KOKOMO, Ind. – The Howard County Sports Hall of Fame, with plaques located at the Kokomo Event and Conference Center, is pleased to announce its 2018 class of inductees (alphabetical order, short summaries are below): Jacqueline Bagwell, Mark Gabriel, Gary Mumaw, Mick Owens, Willard Rice, Cari Stover-Richards and Ricke Stucker.

“We are thrilled with this class,” said Hall of Fame President Dean Hockney. “Since founding the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame in 2003, our board of directors is in continual awe of the accomplishments of each succeeding class of inductees. “This year we have state champs, scoring leaders, record-breakers, and a community icon. Howard County has been blessed with outstanding sports personalities, and we are proud to tell their stories.”

This will be the 16th class inducted into the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame, with the annual Induction Banquet scheduled for October 27, 2018, at the Creative Financial Centre, home of the cfd Companies (2704 South Goyer Road, Kokomo). Ticket information for the banquet will be announced later this month.

“Any of this year’s seven inductees have a strong enough resume to have been inducted in previously, but that just shows how deep Howard County athletic history is,” said Hockney. “I am excited to hear them speak at our induction banquet in October – it is always a great evening for the sports community.”

Jacqueline Bagwell

Jacqueline Bagwell is a 1980 Haworth High School graduate who excelled in tennis and basketball during the early years of girls sports being recognized by the IHSAA. But she gained fame as a tennis coach, where she led the Amherst College women’s tennis team to the 1999 NCAA Division III national championship. In 28 seasons, she amassed a 418-99 record and coached two singles and six doubles NCAA champions. Bagwell has also been named the Boston Sports Award Coach of the Year.

Mark Gabriel

Mark Gabriel is a 1966 Kokomo High School graduate who was a standout in basketball for the Wildkats and at Hanover College. The 2001 Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inductee averaged more than 20 points and 16 rebounds per game his senior season at Kokomo. At Hanover, Gabriel still holds the rare distinction of holding the career records for points (2,368) and rebounds (1,463) while being named an All-American twice – he still holds 14 individual records at Hanover, where his number is retired.

Gary Mumaw

Gary Mumaw is a 1972 Northwestern High School graduate. As a sophomore, he placed 13th in the state in cross country and followed that performance with an eighth-place finish as a junior while leading the Tigers to an IHSAA state runners-up finish, a feat they duplicated his senior season. He placed third at the IHSAA state track and field finals in the two-mile run. Mumaw ran track at Indiana State University before transferring to the University of Illinois, where he helped the Illini win a Big Ten title.

Mick Owens

Mick Owens played baseball for the Kokomo Highlanders and coached in the Kokomo Connie Mack league before founding the cfd Saints semi-pro baseball team. He coached the Saints to more than 400 victories, three semi-pro world series berths and two state championships. Owens was inducted into the National Semi-Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. Since then, he has supported local sports organizations through donations by the company he founded – cfd Investments.

Willard Rice

Willard Rice is one of the most decorated football players in the history of Kokomo High School and Ball State University. A 1966 KHS graduate, his 2,400 yards passing is still fifth-best in school history, and he is one of three Wildkats to have a 300-yard passing game. At Ball State, Rice passed for 3,710 career yards, which is still 10th best all-time. As a coach, he led Eastern to an 88-82 record and a 68-62 record at Kokomo, which included three North Central Conference titles.

Cari Stover-Richards

Cari Stover-Richards is a 1993 Kokomo High School graduate who was a member of the Indiana All-Star team. She played in 91 games for the Lady Wildkats and helped lead the squad to IHSAA state championships in 1992 and 1993. She finished her career with 923 points, 515 rebounds (third-most in school history), 142 assists and 130 steals. Stover-Richards played at Valparaiso University and was named to the Mid-Continent Conference All-Academic team in 1997.

Ricke Stucker

Ricke Stucker is a 1965 Kokomo High School graduate who was a member of the cross country and track team. At Indiana University, he lettered in cross country. After graduating, he returned to Kokomo and coached the Wildkats for 50 years with state finalists in four sports – boys and girls cross country and boys and girls track. Stucker has been named an Indiana All-Star coach 10 times and is a member of the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

Courtesy of the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame

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EAST DIVISION CHAMP KOKOMO JACKRABBITS FALL IN THE PROSPECT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES TO THE TERRE HAUTE REX

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – The Kokomo Jackrabbits record-breaking season came to an abrupt halt against the one team that has been a nemesis for four seasons. Playing in the Prospect League Championship Series, Kokomo entered with the No. 1 seed thanks to a league best 37-22 regular season record, but in the end, they were swept 11-3 and 4-3 by the Terre Haute Rex.

In game one of the best-of-three series, Terre Haute (35-24 in the regular season) jumped to a 3-0 lead, saw Kokomo trim the margin to 3-2 in the second, then scored the next eight runs for an easy 11-3 victory. Kokomo starter Hunter Lee was roughed up for 10 hits, six runs (four earned) in 2 2/3 innings pitched. Adam Ketelsen could not stop the bleeding, giving up three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Kaleb Huxford picked up the win for the Rex in relief.

Kokomo managed seven hits at the plate with Ian Walters leading the way with a single and double.

Jackrabbits skipper Gary McClure was suspended for game one due to violating the league’s pitching rule, which states a relief pitcher cannot pitch more than seven innings in a seven consecutive day span. During the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, Kokomo reliver Josh Konecek threw 7 1/3 innings in a seven-day period. He went over the limit in the Division Championship Series final game, when he threw the final three innings against Chillicothe to earn the win in relief of an 8-3 series clinching victory.

In game two of the League Championship Series at Kokomo Municipal Stadium, Kokomo seemed to be on cruise control until a disastrous seventh inning. The Rabbits took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning playing small ball: Colin Butkiwicz and Zac Wilson led the inning off with singles, John Sechen laid down a sacrifice bunt, Alex Dorethy walked to load the bases and Marcos Sanchez grounded out to first to score Butkiewicz.

Kokomo made it 3-0 after four innings much to the delight of the 1,599 fans at Municipal Stadium. Wilson singled and Sechen followed with a double. Dorethy then singled to score Wilson and Sanchez hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Sechen.

Meanwhile, on the hill, Kokomo starter Krystien Johnson-Battilana was magnificent for the first four innings as he retired all 12 Terre Haute batters he faced. The Rex finally got to the Rabbits starter when Roby Enriquez led the fifth with a triple and Austin Weiler scored him with a ground out.

Johnson-Battilana retired the Rex in order in the sixth and led the seventh off with a strikeout before hitting Enriquez in the back with a pitch. Weiler then hit a sky-high pop fly that landed between the second baseman and right fielder, but Sanchez wisely grabbed the loose ball and threw to Neil Lambert at second for an unconventional 9-6 force out which looked to keep the inning in check for the Jackrabbits. But Johnson-Battilana, already showing signs that he was tired, walked the next two hitters, and after a lengthy trip to the mound by McClure, gave up a game-tying, two-run single to Lorenzo Elion. Konecek entered and struck out Mason Speirs to end the threat.

Tied at three heading into the ninth, Konecek again ran out of innings and gave way to Chase Nix, who retired the one hitter he faced. Kokomo started the ninth with a single off the bat of Sechen, but Dorethy hit into a 4-6-3 double play. The Rabbits again rallied as Sanchez and Lambert both singled to put runners on the corners, but Dayson Croes ripped a line drive right at the left fielder to end the inning.

In the 10th, Craig Shepherd led off the Rex with a walk and Elion moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Tyler Vogel entered to pitch for Kokomo and got Speirs to ground out. That brought up Rex leadoff hitter Drew Ashley, who had combined with the first three Terre Haute hitters to go 0-12 through the first nine innings. Ashley ripped a single to score Shepherd with the go-ahead run.

Kokomo entered its half of the 10th with its 3-4-5 hitters due up, but a ground out and a pair of pop outs with Conner Steinbaugh on the hill ended the game, the season and the Jackrabbits tenure in the Prospect League. The title was the second for Terre Haute (2015).

Kokomo ended 0-5 against Terre Haute this season and 5-14 (1-8 at home) in the four years of Prospect League play against the Rex. Next season, Kokomo moves to the wood bat Northwoods League.

While the season did not end like the team hoped, the campaign was a success. The squad recaptured the Battle of 26 Classic against Lafayette (7-4), set team regular season marks with a 37-22 overall record and 23-7 home field tally and won its first-ever playoff series. McClure ends the season with 67 wins, the most-ever for a Jackrabbits skipper. The team tied a record with 15 runs in a game and set a new team mark with 20 hits against Butler on July 18. And Ian Walters set a team regular season record with 72 hits while notching a Prospect League record with an amazing three triples against Chillicothe in the playoffs. And Chandler Coats led the league while setting a new team record with eight regular season victories.

The move to the 22-team Northwoods League will be a step-up for the Jackrabbits, and league play will most-likely begin its 72-game schedule in late May.

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KOKOMO JACKRABBITS WILL FACE TERRE HAUTE REX IN PROSPECT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

KOKOMO, Ind. – The Prospect League Championship Series is set to begin Thursday, August 9! This year’s series features a first-time PLCS participant in the Kokomo Jackrabbits, while the REX enter the best-of-three series for the second time.

With the best regular-season record in the Prospect League, the East Division Champion Kokomo Jackrabbits own home-field advantage in the league’s deciding series. The Jackrabbits finished the season 37-22, they won the final two games of the East Division Championship Series against Chillicothe to advance.

The REX, won the West Division Championship and advanced to the PLCS after amassing a regular-season record of 35-24 and then defeated Danville two games to one in the West Division Championship Series.

Kokomo and the REX played each other three times during the regular season. The REX won all three of the games and outscored Kokomo 20-12. In the three-game season series, the REX hit .302. Kokomo hit .250 against the REX during the season.

So far in the playoffs, the REX are hitting .284 through three games and have scored 18 runs on 29 hits. Kokomo is hitting .257 and scored 15 runs in its three first-round games.

REX pitchers have been the best of the four playoff teams, compling a 2-1 record with an ERA of 3.67. REX hurlers have given up 12 runs (11 earned) on 27 hits, walked only four and struck out 22 over 27 innings. Kokomo’s pitching staff is 2-1 in the playoffs with an ERA of 3.81. Jackrabbits pitching has given up 11 runs (all earned) on 28 hits, walked nine and struck out 24 through 18 26 innings. 

Kokomo has not made an error through its first three playoff games, while the REX have made three errors and have given up one unearned run in playoff action.

Game one of the Prospect League Championship Series is Thursday at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Ind., as the REX host the Kokomo Jackrabbits at 7:05 p.m. After a travel day Friday, Kokomo hosts the REX in game two Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and, if necessary, Sunday at 3:05 p.m. at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

Courtesy of the Prospect League

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