Going into Monday’s doubleheader, Blue Springs Rod’s Sports Athletics were in a rather unfamiliar spot.

Going into Monday’s doubleheader, Blue Springs Rod’s Sports Athletics were in a rather unfamiliar spot.
The team was sitting in third place in the American Legion Fifth District race, one game back of their opponent, Independence Post 21, and three games back of the Lee’s Summit Post 189 Auxiliary Outlaws, with only two games left for the A’s.
The A’s had locked up a good seed in the upcoming Fifth District postseason tournament, but this is a team that has won the district seven years in a row.
But only second place was within their reach Monday, so that’s what manager Mike Rooney and his team went for, and that’s what they got, sweeping Post 21 9-5 and 12-0 to clinch at least the No. 2 seed in the district tournament.
The A’s (20-10), at 12-4 in league play, still have a chance to win the district but need the Outlaws (7-1) to lose four out of their final eight district games.
Things started out well for the A’s Monday. They won the first game handily thanks to a five-run first inning and five errors and six left on base by Post 21.
Bret Sutton, who hadn’t started a game in two weeks, threw a complete game, giving up five runs on 10 hits – with three of the runs coming in the top of the seventh when the game was well out of reach. Sutton also went 2-for-3 with a single and triple, reached second on an error and added a stolen base.
Sutton wasn’t exactly excited with his performance on the mound, but was happy that his team picked up the win.
“I wasn’t really pitching out there, I was just throwing,” said Sutton, who struck out nine. “I wasn’t really hitting my spots. But we won, and that’s all I care about.”
Sutton’s manager, Mike Rooney, also had constructive criticism for the pitcher.
“He got tired towards the end of the game, but he threw a pretty good game,” Rooney said. “He’s a little rusty. His mechanics were off, but that’s what comes from not throwing for a week.”
Post 21 got one in the top of the first when third baseman Kyle Clifton drove in William Nesbit on a two-out single.
The A’s promptly responded, answering with five in the bottom of the inning, two coming on third baseman Kyle Seithel’s one-out triple. The A’s finished with 12 hits, a break from a recent dry streak at the plate.
“We haven’t been hitting really well in the past few games,” Sutton said. “But a win is a win, and that’s all that matters.”
Post 21 couldn’t get out of the early hole they dug themselves. It got worse when the A’s added one in the second and three more in the third.
“It’s hard to overcome five errors,” manager Tom Bush said. “We couldn’t seem to make the routine plays. They hit well; I’ll give them credit. Sutton pitched well. But you can’t make five errors and expect to win.”
Post 21 bats started to show up in the seventh, getting consecutive RBI doubles from Nesbit and Clifton and an RBI infield single by Jamie Hayes after Clifton stole third.
James O’Dell, who went the distance, gave up just five earned runs.
Post 21 dropped the first game of the doubleheader but still had a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the second game.
“The thing with this league is, if you play bad, you’ve got to shrug it off, because chances are, you’re either playing another game that night or the next day,” Bush said after the first game.
Post 21, however, ran into a brick wall in Seithel in the second game, getting blanked for the first time this year.
Bush had kind words for Seithel.
“Nobody has shut us out before,” he said. “We had been hitting really well, and he shut us down. He pitched extremely well.
“[Blue Springs] played really well. They really had the bats going tonight.”
The A’s got two-RBI games from Wisner, who had a single and a triple – same as the first game – and Sutton, who had a single and two doubles. Keeston Terry, who sat out the first game – added two singles in the second game.
The teams had played twice before Monday, however, both contests came in different tournaments, which didn’t contribute to district standings.
Post 21 (15-12, 11-5 Fifth District) has the third seed locked up, and that’s just fine with Bush.
“I think, with the way it’s looking right now, anybody can win the tournament,” he said. “That’s the good thing about the Fifth District. Anybody can beat anybody.”