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Mustangs Fall Short of Four-Peat with 4-0 Loss

The St. Joseph Mustangs came out on the wrong end of Saturday’s winner-take-all game three of the M.I.N.K. League Championship, ending their season with a 4-0 loss to Jefferson City. With their runner-up finish, the Mustangs’ title streak cut off at three seasons as the Renegades claimed their first ever championship.

After providing a dramatic finish to game two of the series, St. Joseph’s offense never got going Saturday. Renegades starting pitcher Nick Panagos threw the game of his summer ball career, twirling a complete game shutout on 119 pitches. The Mustangs amassed only five hits and two walks on the night, with no player recording multiple hits.

Despite the slow night, St. Joe still generated scoring opportunities early on. In the first, right fielder Trevor McCollum doubled with two outs for his first of three trips on base, but he remained at second to end the inning. The Mustangs later opened the third with back-to-back singles but missed out on a pair of chances with two men in scoring position. In the fourth and fifth innings, a Mustang once again reached second with two outs or less but never came in to score.

On the other side, St. Joe used two pitchers, left-handed starter Michael Infranca and right-handed reliever Andrew Clark. Infranca opened the night with three shutout innings but allowed three runs across his final two frames. From there, Clark did well to keep the Mustangs in the game, allowing just one run over the game’s final four innings.

Including both the regular season and postseason, the 2023 Mustangs finished with an overall record of 33-18. Shortstop Cole Slibowski led the team with 44 hits, while left fielder Easton Bruce paced the club with 5 home runs and 36 runs batted in. Utility man Will Drybugh and infielder Michael Paule each contributed 16 stolen bases to lead the way. On the mound, right-hander Mason Holton finished tops on the team with 58 strikeouts and a 2.50 earned run average in 45 innings.

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