The St. Joseph Mustangs walked off for the second consecutive game Friday evening. On a bases-loaded walk by first baseman Ryan Callahan, the Mustangs edged the Jefferson City Renegades 3-2, returning to solo first place in the M.I.N.K. League North Division.
St. Joe starting pitcher Mason Holton shined again after an eight-inning, one-hit performance to open the month. The right-hander allowed two earned runs and pinched out five over seven innings, turning his third quality start of the summer.
Holton’s offense made sure he never pitched from behind in Friday’s game. In the first inning, right fielder Brayden Luikart made his first of five trips on base, stealing second ahead of Callahan. One Wichita State commit drove in another, as Callahan’s single down the left field line put St. Joe ahead 1-0.
That score would hold until the third, when the Renegades came up with a two-out, RBI knock of their own. But the Mustangs pulled right back ahead in the fifth, as second baseman Will Dryburgh started a rally with a single and scored on Luikart’s base hit to right. Jefferson City then leveled the game again with a run in the top half of the sixth before stranding the bases loaded defensively in the bottom half.
As the game entered its late stages, Mustang right-handers Andrew Clark and Braden Berry delivered. Clark walked a pair but finished off a scoreless eighth inning, passing the baton to Berry for a three-up, three-down ninth inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dryburgh again stirred the pot with a one-out single to center. After Luikart was plunked and center fielder Trevor McCollum worked a walk, Callahan stepped in with the winning run at third. He moved ahead 3-0 in the count, but it eventually shifted to a full count. The sixth pitch of the at-bat strayed above the zone, Callahan did not offer and the game ended.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Mustangs are 23-11 overall and 21-11 within league play. Eleven different players will represent St. Joseph in Chillicothe Sunday, including left fielder Easton Bruce, who will also participate in the Home Run Derby. As a team, the Mustangs will resume their schedule Tuesday with a doubleheader at Des Moines.