01/19/2016 11:01 AM
The St. Joseph Mustangs return 14 players from last year’s MINK League Championship squad as they seek a fifth title in six years this summer.
To go along with a group that led St. Joe to 35 regular season wins, eighth year manager Matt Johnson brings in a range of new players from Massachusetts to California.
“This year’s team will look similar to previous Mustang teams,” Johnson said. “We will have great team speed, a deep bullpen and a very competitive starting rotation. I am excited to see what they can do on the field.”
Pitching anchored the 2015 Mustangs, and their top two starting pitchers are back again this summer.
Preston Felgate (4-2, 1.49 ERA in 2015) and Dixon Marble (5-1, 2.38 ERA in 2015) return for one more season in St. Joe as frontline starting pitchers in the rotation.
The bullpen will also feature familiar faces in closer Steve D’Amico (five saves, 21 strikeouts in 14.2 innings in 2015), lefty reliever/utility player Trent Hill and right-handed pitcher Humberto Medina.
The 2015 Mustangs Most Valuable Player will be patrolling the outfield at Phil Welch Stadium once again. Jacob Richardson batted .299 with six doubles, five triples and 20 RBIs last summer.
Bishop LeBlond graduate Patrick Dillon will also join Richardson in the outfield, and Jeremiah Figueroa returns to the Mustangs after one year away from the team.
St. Joseph’s speedy lead-off hitter, Orencio Fisher, will also be back at Phil Welch for a second year in a row. Fisher led the MINK with 34 stolen bases.
Platte City native Evan McDonald will play for the Mustangs once he completes his first year playing for Division I Georgia Southern.
Francisco Alvarez leads an experienced group of catchers. Alvarez, a backstop in his first year at Arkansas State, is back for his third summer in St. Joseph. He’ll be joined by Bishop LeBlond graduate Jonathan Zuptich and Maryville native Payton Scarbrough.
Johnson’s coaching staff will feature former Mustangs slugger Johnny Coy as the hitting coach, Blake Hardegree as bench coach and Ryker Fox as the bullpen coach.