Measuring Up the MINK League
By Brennan Mense
MINK League play is off and running after a dormant 2020. Let’s take a look at what has gone down so far:
The South Division has been very tight so far. Coming off a record-breaking 2019, coach Chris Dawson and his Joplin Outlaws lead the division at 4-2 with an attack built around speed and stout relief pitching. However, Jefferson City and Nevada are both within a game, with the Griffins even getting a walk-off win over the Outlaws.
Meanwhile, Sedalia, with a roster comprised nearly entirely of central Missouri natives, is pulling up the rear, but only 1.5 games back of Joplin. They own the single biggest highlight of the season so far, as Antonio Escano tossed an eight-inning no-hitter against Jefferson City on June 4, striking out 13.
In the North Division, the Clarinda A’s, coming off of several difficult seasons, have roared out of the gate to possess the league’s best record at 8-3, two games clear of second-place Chillicothe. Several of those wins have come against non-league competition, but Ryan Eberly’s club will get their chance to test their mettle with two games against Joplin coming up next week.
Chillicothe lands in second place in the north having won four of five since dropping their first two games of the year to Clarinda. One of those wins included a five-run comeback over Sedalia, though the loss came to a Des Moines team that has no other wins this year.
Meanwhile, one surprising development has been the sluggish start of the defending champion St. Joseph Mustangs. After roaring through 2019 with a 38-10 record, St. Joe has limped out of the gate to a 2-4 record, including being mercy-ruled by Nevada and being shutout in a non-league game by the KC Monarchs.
At the bottom of the league is the newcomer to the MINK League, the Des Moines Peak Prospects, who sit with a 1-5 record. They started off their season 0-4, but managed to defeat Chillicothe on June 7 for their first win in their new league.