A summer that Ozark grad Blake Mozley thought he would spend in the Upper Midwest or along the Mississippi River in central Illinois played out in his hometown and ended with him receiving the Show-Me Collegiate League Player Of The Year award.
“Originally, I was going to the Northwoods (Collegiate) League and then when it got postponed, I was going to the Quincy Prospects League,” Mozley said. “Once the Quincy league got cancelled, I thought I would stay at home and play in the Show-Me League.”
Mozley’s second season in the Show-Me League saw him record a .433 batting average with 23 runs scored and 15 RBIs for the Midwest Nationals Red Team. In the field, the shortstop posted a .984 fielding percentage, while committing only one error in 63 chances.
The only downer for Mozley was seeing the league stop play due to two players' COVID-19 positive tests during the second week of July, or two weeks before the scheduled start of the playoffs
“I was sad and wished we could have kept playing,” Mozley said. “But I have to feel lucky. I’m one of the lucky kids who got to play this summer when not many did.”
Kickapoo grad Mason Auer left the Show-Me League to play in the Northwoods League once it opened play and last year’s Show-Me League Player Of The Year, MSU sophomore Mason Hull, is also playing in the Northwoods League.
Mozley never seriously considered going to the Northwoods League once the Show-Me League ended.
“I thought there was no point in doing that at that time,” he said.
Mozley, who has four years of eligibility remaining at Missouri State, valued the pitching he got to see during Show-Me League play. Most of the teams got in 20 games before play stopped.
“The velo, seeing hard pitching day in day out, you can’t train that,” Mozley said. “Seeing pitches 88 (mph) or higher will make you a better hitter.”
Mozley’s highlights included hitting a home run at his old stoping grounds when play was moved to Ozark High School for a day and going 1-for-2 against Texas Rangers signee Connor Sechler.
“I was lucky to get an infield hit versus Sechler,” Mozley said. “Now, he’s a pro.”
The Queen City Crush’s Ryan Carmack is the Show-Me League's Pitcher Of The Year. He compiled a 0.00 ERA and 45 strikeouts over 22.2 innings.
Including Mozley and Carmack, the Show-Me League All-Star Team includes 10 infielders, two catchers, four outfielders and a whopping 13 pitchers.
The Midwest Nats Red is also represented by Mason Lundgrin, Carson Shaver and Gage Singer.
The league champion Midwest Nats Blue is represented by DJ McNew, Robbie Merced, Noah Argenta, Chuck Hill and Bryce Slavens.
The Stars’ league-high nine representatives are Clay Engel, Grant Wood, Max Elmer, Hayden Juenger, Zach Cole, Ethan Owens, David Senn, Dalton Morrow and Austin Anderson.
Elmer, Cole and Wood formed quite a threesome. Elmer hit .395 with 22 runs scored and 26 RBIs, while Wood hit .370 with 27 runs scored and 24 RBIs and Cole hit .367 with 23 runs scored and 24 RBIs. Cole had three home runs, 12 stolen bases and 21 walks.
The Queen City Crush’s representatives are Carmack, Kolten Poorman and Zach Johnston.
The Springfield Cobras are represented by Cameron Tissue, Anthony Calabro and Caden Wilson.
The Ozark Wild’s representatives include Chase Plymell, Cade Waits and Tanner Kellerstrass.
The Midwest Nats White is represented by Jackson Bearman and Kellen Pate.
Other locals and how they fared:
— Ozark grad Clayton Engel batted .341 with 18 RBIs.
— Ozark grad Parker Hanks struck out 21 and walked six in 16.2 innings.
— Nixa grad Ace Akers fanned 23 and walked seven over 18 innings.