ST. JOSEPH — The MINK League held its first All-Star game on Thursday and a former Warsaw Wildcat and current Central Missouri Mule now with the Branson Nationals was one of the stars.
Brad Jelinek came on as a pinch hitter and played the last few innings at shortstop for the South Division as the South won 4-1.
“I thought it was pretty cool playing with all these guys out here and sharing it with my teammates,” he said.
Jelinek and Branson teammates Nelson Mompierre, Garrett Mays, Kasey Cooper, Trey Turner, Kolby Folis, Ryan Logan and Austin Kretchmar shared a dugout and the field with the players from Ozark, Joplin and Nevada who are currently chasing the Nationals for first place in the South Division but they put the rivalries aside for one day.
“Like you see in the Majors, they all get together and they’re having a great time, we were having a great time,” Jelinek said. “The home run derby was probably the best part, all of us getting together and watching some of the boys hit the ball pretty far with the old bats that we used to use.”
Jelinek was selected to the All-Star game on the strength of a .302 batting average with 14 runs batted in. He is one of four Nationals hitting over .300 as Branson has a one game lead over Nevada in the South Division standings.
“Number-wise I’m having a pretty good summer and our team is in first place so far,” he said. “That’s really all that matters. We want to get a chance to go to the NBC World Series.
He still wants to improve every aspect of his game before the season ends as he heads into his junior year with the Mules.
“I’m going out there and doing all the stuff I can control like my attitude and playing hard all the time,” he said.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles