Outlaws prepare to face St. Joe for MINK League title

The Outlaws and Mustangs meet for game one Thursday in Joplin.

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Outlaws claimed the South Division title and earned a spot in the MINK League championship game Tuesday night, beating Jeff City 4-2.

“It means a lot, especially for the city of Joplin. The community and the city itself has done a great job of supporting us all year long, whether it’s mid-week games or weekend games. To be able to do it for the city of Joplin and for Mr. Rains, who is a great owner, it means a lot to us,” says head coach Gonzalo Gonzalez on the team’s division title, “We’re at the point now where the guys are really doing it for each other. It means something to them. It may be summer ball, but we’ve all sacrificed to get to this point. To see these guys playing together and playing for one another, it truly means a lot.”

The Outlaws now move on to face the St. Joe Mustangs in the MINK League championship series.

St. Joe has won 7 of the last 12 MINK League titles, and took three out of four games from Joplin in the regular season.

“This is a great underdog story for us. They’re going to be tough to beat, but I really think if we play good defense, have a good showing of pitching and just keep doing what we’re doing offensively and don’t press, we’re going to give them a good run for their money,” Gonzalez adds, “They’re a tough team, man. Top to bottom they can hit a little bit. I think their biggest strength is their defense and their pitching. If we want to get to them, we have to make sure we execute offensively. Johnny Coy does a good job over there and runs a great program. To be able to get on top of them early is going to be big for us.”

Game one of the three-game series will be on Thursday in Joplin, before the series heads to St. Joe for games two and three (if necessary).

“It’s big for us. That home game is going to be big,” Gonzales says of Thursday’s game in Joplin, “Obviously, it’s hard to win in St. Joe. For us to be able to come out and win that first game and set the tone, we’re going to need that in a big way.”