Mudcats’ All-Star break experience included game MVP, loss of player

Swinehart's decisive 3-runs blast gave North 5-3 ASG triumph

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
With a swing, contact, and ball trajectory much like this one which produced a run-scoring triple during the second game of a home doubleheader sweep two nights before, Chillicothe Mudcats and Western Michigan U. outfielder Josh Swinehart blasted a game-winning 3-runs home run to earn most valuable player honors in the North Division's 5-3 victory in the 2021 MINK League All-Star Game at Jefferson City July 8.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

The Chillicothe Mudcats’ experience of the 2021 MINK League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby and its aftermath included some definite high points, but also one unexpected and potentially-costly one.

Seven Fish – outfielder Josh Swinehart and Braedyn Brewer, catcher/first baseman Tanner Sears, infielder/outfielders Greyson Barrett and Max Huntley, and pitchers Koby Linder and Scott Duensing – were directly involved in the events hosted this season by the Jefferson City Renegades organization and held by Jefferson City’s Ernie Vivion Field.

Of the Chillicothe contingent, all four position players and one of the two pitchers selected to the game playing roster got into the action.

Swinehart emerged as the choice for most valuable player in the North Division team’s 5-3 victory by virtue of his 3-runs home run that, capping a North rally from an early 3-0 deficit, turned a 3-2 South lead into the 5-3 North advantage which held the rest of the way.

Brewer, Sears and Huntley all got at least one plate appearance and Duensing threw one scoreless inning in the middle frames.

Barrett’s role was as the Mudcats’ representative in the pre-game Home Run Derby. With each league team providing one participant, the single-elimination-format, 3-rounds competition saw Barrett win his first-round clash over St. Joseph’s Ike Book 6-0 in a battle of left-handed hitters.

In the semifinals, however, Barrett was edged by eventual champion Taylan Mullins-Ohm of Clarinda 4-3. The Mudcat’s total of nine long balls was the most cumulatively among all the Derby participants.

Prior to the next night’s regular-season action, however, Mudcats head coach Tyler Hudlow disclosed that, even though he’d participated in the All-Star Game the night before, Huntley unexpectedly notified him he was heading home to Kalamazoo, Mich., and would not return to the team.

The product of Western Michigan U. in his hometown was batting .275 while playing virtually every day.  He was third on the team in runs batted in (12), stolen bases (five), was tied for third in total hits (19), and fourth in runs scored (13).

He was the second productive hitter to leave the team in just over a week. Wes Brandsgaard chose to conclude his playing career to focus on his educational track for his planned career in the medical field.

Hudlow also acknowledged that, apparently, pitcher Kale Harris, who commuted to home games from his New Franklin, Mo., home, has decided not to continue his involvement with the club, as well.

In part because of his ineffectiveness and partly because of the multiple rainouts the latter part of June, Harris had not appeared in a game since June 7.