170601_mustangs_lead (copy)

Mustangs catcher Brady Anderson connects for a single during Opening Night at Phil Welch Stadium. Anderson has played a major role for the team since he joined three seasons ago.

St. Joseph Mustangs manager Matt Johnson has coached catcher Brady Anderson for three summers during his time as a Mustang. But that’s not where their relationship started.

Johnson and Anderson both played college baseball at Valley City State University in Valley City, North Dakota. When Johnson was on the team and playing, Anderson served as the batboy while his father was the head coach.

“I’ve known the kind of kid he was since the age of two until 23 now,” Johnson said. “He’s a great leader, smart baseball mind, easy to have conversations. He’s a great kid to be policing our pitching staff.”

Anderson returned to St. Joseph this summer after being named the Mustangs’ most valuable player last year. During his second year as a Mustang, Anderson had a .333 batting average. This summer the North Dakota native has picked up right where he left off.

Through 24 games Anderson has a .307 batting average, 19 RBIs and 11 walks. His goal every summer in St. Joseph is to improve but after the team fell short of a MINK League title a year ago, finishing the season on top is another expectation.

“Really bad, especially with all of the returning players that we have,” Anderson said about wanting a MINK League title. “We want to go out and get that this year.”

Not only has Anderson been the Mustangs’ most consistent hitter, he’s been a key piece to St. Joseph’s success on the mound.

“We have 18 (pitchers) that we have to mentally and physically take care of,” Johnson said. “To have another guy on the field who can be there so we don’t have to take trips and constantly communicate from the dugout is a huge help to our coaching staff.”

Anderson finished his final year at Valley City State this past spring. He’s enjoying one more summer with the Mustangs but he doesn’t want it to be the last time he puts on a baseball uniform.

“I’m just kind of riding the summer out and then I’ll figure it out after that,” Anderson said.

John Zetmeir can be reached at john.zetmeir@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowZetmeir.