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Mustangs Pitchers Take Advantage of Special BP Session

For just one afternoon, it's the pitchers swinging for the fences.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Every time a Mustangs starting pitcher sets foot on the mound, he does everything in his power to throw it by the hitter. But that mindset changed during Thursday's pregame.

Manager Matt Johnson gave his hurlers a rare treat: pitchers batting practice. 

"You throw your stuff on the mound, and everybody starts talking a lot about how they can hit. For most of us, it's been four or five years (since they've hit)," Mustangs pitcher Aaron Baker said. "To come out here and put on a show, beat everybody, it's a good feeling."

"If we're in the ninth inning with two outs, and they have a runner on third,we're going to do everything in our power to make sure he doesn't cross that plate, because this is what it's all about right here," pitcher Stanten Jones said with a laugh. "This is what we play for: shutouts and pitchers BP." 

But the Mustang hurlers aren't just given batting practice, they have to earn it.

"As a staff or as an individual, they throw a shutout or no-hitter, they get an opportunity to swing," Johnson said.

It's one of the few times that this pitching staff is hoping to see a ball clear the fences at Phil Welch Stadium, but the guys who can't hit it out get a little hazing.

"The thing about pitchers BP is about going out there and dropping bombs," Jones said. "If you don't drop bombs, you're going to have a tough time fitting into the clubhouse."

"If you can't get up there and hit a BP fastball, then I don't know what you're doing on a baseball field," St. Joe's home run leader Kris Koerper said.

And some of the pitchers believe they swing a bigger bat than some of the position players.

"I'd say I've got a swing like Kris Koerper, probably a little more pop, too," Baker said. "I'd say I'm an improved version of Koerper."

But Koerper had a response.

"Aaron Baker has about as much pop as a little pop rock compared to me, which would be like an atomic bomb."

The atomic bomb leads the Mustangs in the home run department and is batting .361 on the season, but for just one afternoon, it's the pitchers swinging for the fences.
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