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Mustangs Edge Chillicothe, Return to First Place

The St. Joseph Mustangs returned to first place in the M.I.N.K. League North Division Monday evening, defeating the Chillicothe Mudcats 5-4. Now 20-10 overall and 18-10 in league play, the Mustangs have won nine of their last 10 games at Phil Welch Stadium.


Left-hander Aron Harrington continued his two-way excellence as St. Joe’s starting pitcher Monday. On the way to his third win of the summer, Harrington dealt five innings with eight strikeouts and no earned runs allowed.


Chillicothe played shaky defense early on, and the Mustangs capitalized quickly. In the first, left fielder Easton Bruce scored the opening run on one of three wild pitches in the inning. The second inning saw the Mustangs reach first base on back-to-back wild strikeouts.


In the third, Bruce sparked a two-out rally with a bases-empty single. First baseman Ryan Callahan promptly brought him home on a double to left-center. During the next two at-bats, the Mudcats made three throwing errors, including two on the same stolen base attempt. That allowed another St. Joe run to score, making it 3-0 Mustangs.


After Harrington stranded the bases loaded in the fourth, Chillicothe pushed an unearned run across in the fifth. But St. Joe continued to add on, as shortstop Cole Slibowski ripped a run-scoring single through the left side in the sixth. Though the Mudcats plated two against Braden Berry in the seventh, right fielder Trevor McCollum immediately restored St. Joe’s two-run lead with a single to right-center.


Around the time Clarinda’s loss went final and the Mustangs’ window to first place opened up, that two-run lead became precarious. With one run already in, Chillicothe advanced the tying run to third and the go-ahead run to second with two outs. But with the weight of the game on his shoulders, right-hander Jack Wells delivered, inducing a flyout and earning the save.


With their 0-3 start against Chillicothe rectified, the Mustangs now set their sights on Independence Day baseball. The Sedalia Bombers will visit for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. first pitch before Clarinda comes in for a two-game, North Division showdown.



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