In an offensive showdown, the St. Joseph Mustangs outlasted the Ban Johnson Raiders in Thursday evening’s non-league game. With an 11-7 victory, the Mustangs improved to 13-7 on the summer.
After two scoreless innings, the game suddenly turned into a tug of war. Ban Johnson cracked the scoreboard with two in the third, but St. Joe followed up with three, taking the lead on a single from third baseman Jeremy Rader.
Ban Johnson pulled right back ahead with another two-run single in the fourth but would never see the lead again. In the bottom of the fourth, center fielder Trevor McCollum broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run, bases-loaded single. First baseman Aron Harrington later pulled a single through the right side, expanding the St. Joe lead to 8-4.
In the fifth, Mustangs left-hander Frank Gall relieved starting pitcher Mason Holton, who was also hitting fourth in the lineup. The two-way man finished with three earned runs, no walls and seven strikeouts in four innings of work. Despite allowing a two-run home run in the fifth, Gall kept the Mustangs in front over his three innings out of the bullpen.
With the score 8-6 at the game’s midway point, St. Joe kept its foot on the gas pedal. Three run-scoring hits over the next three innings would help keep the visitors at arm’s length. Second baseman Noah Bodenhausen singled in the fifth, Harrington doubled in the sixth and McCollum singled again in the seventh.
Protecting a comfortable, 11-6 lead, Braden Berry and Jack Wells combined to pitch the game’s final two innings. Ban Johnson scored a run in the ninth but made no further progress toward a five-run comeback.
Four different Mustangs (Bodenhausen, McCollum, Harrington and right fielder Will Dryburgh) ended the night with two hits. McCollum drove in three runs while Harrington brought in two. After struggling with runners in scoring position during Wednesday’s loss at Chillicothe, the Mustangs went 7-for-20 (.350) in such situations Thursday night.
St. Joe will continue the homestand Friday at 7 p.m. against the first-place Clarinda A’s. The Mustangs currently sit a game and a half back of Clarinda in the M.I.N.K. League North Division.