The Independence Bears had a lot of turnover going into this season.

A team comprised of William Chrisman players, 11 seniors graduated this year, leaving a huge void on its American Legion team.

Bears coach Jeramey Mabie gets to use a handful of varsity players but has mostly junior varsity players for the summer.

“We have three seniors on our Legion team right now. We’re pretty young,” Mabie said.

So far the team has struggled and it has showed at the American Legion Wood Bat Invitational. The team fell to 0-2 in the tournament with a 9-0 run-rule loss to Bennington (Nebraska) Post 266 and a 11-3 mercy-rule defeat to Washington (Missouri) Post 218 Thursday.

Against Washington, Post 218’s Tommy Ruther hit a walk-off home run in the fifth to end it, and it was the 11th run of the game surrendered by losing pitcher Seth Gossett, who also gave up nine hits.

The defense didn’t help matters either, as miscommunication in the infield led to a pop fly to drop for a single to start the fourth. Washington’s Kyle Tuepker reached on an infield single because a routine throw didn’t get to first base on time. Washington eventually put the game out of reach with a five-run inning to make it 10-2.

“When you’re playing a good team like that, you can’t give up more than three outs an inning,” Mabie said. “When you are giving them seven outs an inning, they will make you pay for it.

“All season, we haven’t been able to eliminate that bad inning.”

Post 218 scored three in the second, two in the third and one in the fifth.

On offense, the Bears stranded seven runners. Runs were scored on a wild pitch when Matt Miller crossed home, a sacrifice fly from Jared Larson and a run-scoring single from Jordan Mabie.

BLUE SPRINGS POST 499 FIKE 2, ST. CHARLES POST 312 1: Scott Vestal threw a three-hitter and Fike scored a run in the top of the seventh to edge St. Charles Post 312 in American Legion Wood Bat Invitational pool play Thursday.

Vestal went the distance, allowing one run and no walks while striking out one.

Fike won despite getting just two hits. St. Charles scored a run in the bottom of the first inning for a 1-0 lead before Post 499 tied it in the top of the fifth.

Koby Powell drove in one run and Quinton Weld doubled to pace Fike, who improved to 1-1 in pool play. Ryan Cates and courtesy runner Jackson Rehkow scored the runs for Fike.