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Holton's Gem Highlights Mustangs' Stormy Sweep of Carroll

Between Friday and Saturday, the St. Joseph Mustangs swept the Carroll Merchants in their two-game series. Now 5-0 against Carroll, 19-9 overall and 17-9 within the M.I.N.K. League, the Mustangs are half a game back of Clarinda for first place in the North Division.


Friday’s game, an 8-5 Mustangs win, was played at the mercy of Mother Nature. Halted three different times by weather, the contest finished over 24 hours after its start time.


All St. Joe starters recorded a hit in game one, including first baseman Ryan Callahan, whose single opened the scoring in the first. Carroll clawed back, though, scoring four runs between the third and fifth innings to take a 4-1 advantage.


Despite losing the lead, Mustangs starting pitcher Michael Infranca kept his focus over seven strong innings. In that timeframe, he allowed two earned runs, tossing his second quality start of the summer.


As Infranca threw up zeros in the sixth and seventh, St. Joe’s offense came roaring back to life. With one out and two aboard in the sixth, catcher Ben Click yanked a run-scoring double. He would later come home as the tying run on right fielder Will Dryburgh’s sacrifice fly.


After Carroll went down in order in the top of the seventh, lightning put the game on hold. Around 35 minutes later, the action resumed. The Mustangs loaded the bases with one out in their half of the seventh, and second baseman Michael Paule came through with a sac fly to left.


During the eighth inning, a severe thunderstorm with wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour rolled into St. Joe. The wind, which had been blowing out toward right field all night, suddenly shifted and blasted from right to left. Loose items from the bleachers flew onto the field and rain began pouring in almost sideways, but play continued.


As all that happened, the Mustangs scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Designated hitter Noah Bodenhausen and left fielder Easton Bruce both doubled home insurance runs. As shortstop Mason Holton stepped in with two outs, the game was suspended.


A day later, steady rain interfered with game one’s scheduled 6 p.m. resumption. Finally, around 7:15 Saturday evening, the weather calmed and baseball returned. Mustangs reliever Camden Lutz, who had pitched the eighth inning Friday night, returned for Saturday’s ninth. He allowed one run but closed out the three-run victory.


After a 20-minute break, game two began and played out very differently from game one. The series finale never experienced an interruption, nor did the Mustangs as they cruised to an 8-0 victory.


St. Joe starting pitcher Mason Holton delivered statistically the best outing by a Mustang this summer. Over eight innings, the two-way player held the Merchants to one hit, striking out a season-high nine hitters.


Retiring 12 straight to open the game, Holton helped his offense take another early lead. In the second, shortstop Cole Slibowski finished an impressive two-out rally with an RBI single. Three innings later, St. Joe blew the game wide open.


The Mustangs opened their three-run fifth with three consecutive hits, including designated hitter Jeremy Rader’s two-run double. First baseman Jayden Little then pulled an RBI single before becoming one of two runs to score on a Carroll wild pitch.


St. Joe’s 6-0 lead grew to 8-0 in the eighth as Rader plated two more runs on a hard-hit ball to left. Right-hander Ryker Curry slammed the door on Carroll in the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches.


The Mustangs will take a one-game excursion to Des Moines for a 4 p.m. game before returning to Phil Welch Stadium for a four-game homestand.



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