In a game where the rosters were packed to the gills with offensive firepower, ultimately it was the players on the mound who dictated the winner of the game as the MINK North All-Stars defeated the MINK South All-Stars 3-2 in the MINK All-Star Game on Wednesday at Phil Welch Stadium.
The Mustangs were heavily represented on the North team, suiting up 11 players in total including four pitchers, five infielders, outfielder Derek Hussey and catcher Jordan Maxson.
Their 11 players were the most selected by a team in the North.
Maxson discussed the challenge of facing off against such a wide range of pitchers in a single game.
“A new pitcher every inning, it’s kind of hard to get some tempo going. Especially since they’re all-stars, too, they’re there for a reason,” Maxson said. “If you don’t see a guy multiple times you don’t really know what to expect, so it gets kind of hard, but we kind of pulled it out there at the end.”
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning and having put together only sporadic and infrequent success at the plate, the MINK North needed to summon some hits at the very last minute. Those hits came at just the right time. With two outs on the board, Mustangs first baseman Jack Wagner connected for a single. Helped along by a pair of errors and a walk-in to load the bases, Clarinda’s Nate Bentura hit a single that put the North up.
The final inning found the South unable to perform the same miracle, and the North pulled off the comeback.
All in all, the North managed just six total hits while the South managed a meager three hits.
Despite the trivial All-Star game status, Maxson did not find himself deviating from his regular method of play.
“I just kind of was doing what I’m doing, whatever got me into this game must have been working.” Maxson said. “So I was just doing what I was doing every day.”
Mustangs pitcher Austin Brooks, who stood out amongst a crowded field when he threw a strikeout in the final inning and was on the mound when the North completed their comeback win, didn’t necessarily share that approach.
“I kind of tried to gas it up a little bit being here at an All-Star game, it was a great time,” Brooks said. ”It felt great (to contribute). That’s my job, I’m a closer so I’m supposed to come in and throw strikes.”
The Mustangs healthy presence on the All-Star roster wasn’t lost on Brooks, who acknowledged the team’s accomplishment.
“We’ve been working hard,” Brooks said. “We’re really proud of where we’re going and what we’re doing.”