NCMC’s Tyler Hudlow new Mudcats head coach

Expected returning field leader Bounds has taken year-round college post

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

Between 2020’s COVID-19 erasure of what would have been Caleb Bounds’ team-record-tying third season as head coach of the Chillicothe Mudcats college-level summer baseball team and, now, career advancement, Bounds instead will have to settle for having the distinction of being with the organization the longest in an on-field capacity (player or coach).

Team general manager Doug Doughty announced Wednesday afternoon that Bounds, the Mudcats’ all-time leading in pitching victories (13) during his 2014-16 playing career and the Fish’s head coach in 2018 and ’19, has accepted a full-time, year-round coaching position at Illinois’ Rock Valley College. Thus, the former Savannah, Mo., resident will not be the field skipper for the 2021 Mudcats, as previously planned.

To fill the late gap, Doughty disclosed, Tyler Hudlow, assistant coach at nearby North Central Missouri College in Trenton, has accepted the job of replacing Bounds.

“Obviously, it’s not easy saying goodbye to Caleb,” Doughty stated for the C-T. “He’s been with the organization as a player, intern and coach for seven years. We appreciate his efforts not only with the Mudcats, but in the community as well.

“He follows a long line of Mudcat coaches that are moving up the ladder in the collegiate coaching ranks. Like others before him, Caleb gained a lot of coaching and management experience with the Mudcats and that is now paying career dividends.”“In the same breath,” the Mudcats’ veteran GM continued on behalf of the organization, “we welcome Tyler Hudlow as the new head coach of the Mudcats.

“Tyler has been coaching under Donnie Hillerman at NCMC for the past four years and will inherit a roster that Caleb put together and believed to be his best roster yet.

“Tyler will likely have the opportunity to add a few players of his own, but, as of now, most of the current roster will stay intact.”

That roster, Doughty noted in passing, currently is expected to include 2020 Chillicothe High School graduate Westley Brandsgaard (now attending and playing baseball at State Fair Community College in Sedalia), prospective 2021 CHS graduate Mason Baxter, and current Meadville High School senior Conner Fletcher.

The Mudcats GM also affirmed that the organization, as indicated by the announcement of Hudlow’s hiring, and the MINK League of which it is a member continue to proceed as if they will be able to have some manner of 2021 season after being idled by the coronavirus pandemic last summer.

While the league currently plans an early-May meeting to see where things stand at that time and firm up final plans for the coming summer, the Chillicothe team executive noted that, to the best of his knowledge, eight teams plan to be league members in 2021. That includes newcomer Peak Prospects, based in Des Moines, Iowa.In his two years leading the Fish as head coach, Bounds fashioned a down-and-up 45-42 overall record, his 2019 squad bouncing back impressively from the nearly-20-years-old organization’s first-ever losing season in his first season at the helm with a 26-16 mark the next summer.

The Mudcats new coach played collegiately both at NCMC under Hillerman and at Central Methodist University at Fayette, Mo., according to Doughty.