St. Joseph native Brady Holden grew up a Mustangs fan and recalls countless nights cheering from the stands at Phil Welch Stadium. Tonight, he will be the one the crowd is clapping for.

Holden will take the field in a Mustangs uniform for the first time when the team kicks off its 2019 season against the Midwest A’s.

“I’ve always been in the crowd looking up to these guys and it’s great to actually get to be one now. It’s always been a dream of mine,” Holden said.

The outfielder graduated from Mid-Buchanan in 2017, the same year he and his twin brother, Brett Holden, led the Dragons to a district title.

The incoming junior spent the last two years at State Fair Community College where he held a batting average of .274. Holden finished his sophomore season with 22 RBI and one home run.

“He’s a left-handed hitter that puts the ball in play,” Mustangs coach Johnny Coy said. “He’s really fast and he plays really well defensively in the outfield.”

Holden will remain in St. Joseph once the summer ends. The 20-year-old will attend Missouri Western in the fall to continue his education and baseball career.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Holden said. “It’s another dream of mine being in St. Joe so I’m glad I get to keep playing baseball in my hometown.”

Coy said the organization does a good job at keeping the tradition of having local talent.

“(Holden) is a local guy so a lot of people are going to come watch him play and really enjoy it,” Coy said.

Colton Kenagy from East Buchanan also was added to the Mustangs’ roster this season. Former Central Indian Dawson Smith will return for his second season with the Mustangs.

Holden said signing autographs will be a first for him at the Mustang’s Fan Fest.

“It’s different just going from looking up to Mustang players to actually being one,” Holden said. “I’m looking forward to the season.”

The celebration was set for Tuesday, but due to severe weather, the event has been moved to Thursday evening. The annual Fan Fest will take place at 5 p.m. inside the St. Joseph Hy-Vee.

The Mustangs begin their 11th season in St. Joseph today. This is Coy’s second season in charge of the club in search of their sixth MINK League title. The Mustangs begin league play on Friday against the Clarinda A’s.

Kristen Carver can be reached

at kristen.carver@newspressnow.com

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