The Lee’s Summit Outlaws have become familiar with winning postseason baseball tournaments.
With Sunday afternoon’s 14-5 victory over the Lee’s Summit Post 189 Pirates in the Zone 2 West Tournament finals at the Independence Athletic Complex, the Outlaws won their third straight Zone 2 divisional tournament.
“I think we’ve been focused as a group from the start to do this,” Outlaws manager Mike Gailey said. “This was our goal.”
The Outlaws’ collective attitude might have helped them achieve that goal. They approached the double-elimination tournament feeling cautious, “but still confident at the same time,” outfielder and pitcher Brett Conrow said.
“We had quite a few kids coming back from college this year, so we had a pretty ... (veteran-heavy) team this year,” said Conrow, who pitched three innings in relief Sunday. “So we came in kind of thinking we should take care of business and get ready for zone after this district tournament. But you never want to overlook anybody.”
By handling their business on Sunday, the Outlaws (32-17) secured a first-round bye in the upcoming Zone 2 Tournament in Sedalia. The competition level at the overall zone tournament “increases by a lot” over the divisional tournament, said Dalton Woods, who powered the Outlaws to victory by singling and tripling twice to finish 4 for 6.
“Those teams have probably a lot more pitching than we do,” said Woods, who also led the Outlaws with three runs scored. “But as long as we hit and play solid defense, I think we’ll be fine.”
The Outlaws had no problems hitting on Sunday, collecting 17 hits. They used four hits and two walks to build a 4-0 first-inning lead. After tacking up another run in the second and allowing a run in both the fourth and fifth innings, the Outlaws bolted away with seven runs on six hits, three hit batsmen and a walk in the bottom of the fifth.
The Pirates posted a run in the sixth and both teams scored two runs in the eighth to finish the scoring.
“They used a lot of their better pitching early on in the tournament,” Woods said, “so we knew today all we needed to do was hit the runs across as early as we could, square the ball up and get the job done.”
For the Pirates (20-24), falling behind early Sunday was part of their “big bugaboo this weekend” – a series of bad starts, manager Matt Carpenter said.
“We lost (games) in the first inning,” Carpenter said. “The Outlaws kept it on us all game long, but we dug ourselves a hole early. That’s something we’ve got to fix by next weekend.”
The Pirates also will compete in the Zone 2 Tournament in Sedalia. Independence Post 21 rounds out the field of qualifying Zone 2 West teams. Post 21 meets the Blue Springs Rod's Sports A's at 5 p.m. Thursday, while the Pirates take on Blue Springs Post 499 Fike at 8 p.m. The Outlaws play the Post 21-A's winner at 10 a.m. Friday and the Pirates-Fike winner meets host Sedalia Post 642 at 1 p.m. Friday.