Amid the disappointment of seeing their season come to an earlier-than-anticipated end, the Lee’s Summit Outlaws still found some consolation Sunday afternoon.
They didn’t go down without a fight.
After falling into an eight-run hole in the first four innings against the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers in the championship of the American Legion Zone 2 Tournament, the Outlaws scratched and clawed their way to within a run before the Travelers pulled away for a 12-7 victory at Hidden Valley Park’s Jim Moran Field.
“These guys have always come back in every situation,” Outlaws manager Mark Bradford said. “They always come back. They might not come back all the way, but they put the pressure on. I wasn’t surprised to see it.”
Lee’s Summit already faced a tall order before Sedalia racked up eight runs on eight hits over the first four innings. Relegated to the losers’ bracket after a 4-3 loss to Sedalia on Friday, Lee’s Summit had to take two from the unbeaten Travelers if it wanted to reach state for the second time in three years.
Sedalia made that task look almost impossible with a four-run, four-hit first inning capped by Brandon Kindle’s towering two-run homer. Three more runs came home in the third, two of them on a throwing error, and the Travelers added another on two hits in the fourth for an 8-0 lead.
The Outlaws, meanwhile, struggled to get anything going against Sedalia starter Connor Tichenor, who held them to one hit over the first three innings.
“Sedalia’s got good pitchers,” Bradford said. “For whatever reason, we seem to have a little trouble with them. Give them credit.”
“We saw him a couple days ago,” Outlaws outfielder Zane Ragland said of Tichenor. “He’s got a good arm; he’s a decent pitcher. But he’s not somebody who should have been able to shut us down like he did at first.”
Ragland, who went 3-for-4 and scored two runs, plated the second of the Outlaws’ two runs in the bottom of the fourth. He and Jeremy Root hit back-to-back singles to begin the fourth as the Outlaws loaded the bases.
Ragland also singled and scored in the fifth, when the Outlaws erupted for five runs and four hits with two outs. His run, which came when Wyatt Urzendowski reached on a throwing error by the Travelers’ third baseman, started a rally that included an RBI single by Justin Hopson and a two-run double from Trevor Key.
When Hopson later scored on a wild pitch, the Outlaws had trimmed the deficit to 8-7.
“We knew with a few hits here and there, a little help from them we could get back in the game,” Bradford said. “Wished we could have got it tied that one inning.”
Sedalia added a run in the sixth inning and tacked on three more in the seventh to seal the Outlaws’ fate and earn a spot in the American Legion AAA State Tournament. The Travelers (27-16) will play host to the tournament this week.
Lee’s Summit, the top-seeded team in the tournament, ended its season with a 28-11 record. The Outlaws made it to state in 2017, and Bradford thought he had a team capable of getting there again.
They came close, and they went down swinging.
“I think we really did have a pretty good season,” Ragland said. “I felt like we could have made a run at state. That was something I was hoping we would have the opportunity to do. It definitely ended quicker than we would have liked.”
OUTLAWS 9, BLUE SPRINGS ROD’S SPORTS A’S 2: The Outlaws advanced to the finals with a 9-2 victory over the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s in the losers’ bracket final Saturday.
Ben Kobel was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple, two RBIs and three runs and TJ Nichols was 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs to lead the Outlaws.
Lee’s Summit scored four runs in the first inning, one in the second and two in the fourth to jump to a 7-0 lead.
Ragland had one hit and three RBIs and Logan Adams was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Root allowed five hits, one walk and two runs while striking out 11 in the complete-game victory.
Cade Bissell went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run to lead the A’s, who finished the season with a 24-14 record.
BLUE SPRINGS ROD’S SPORTS A’S 12, BLUE SPRINGS POST 499 FIKE 5: The A’s advanced to the losers’ bracket final with a victory over Fike earlier Saturday.
The A’s scored four runs in the fifth inning and sixth in the sixth to break a 2-2 tie.
Dwight Foster went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, Jared Larson and Christian Garcia each had two hits and an RBI and Brendan Bledsoe and Dempsey Graves each had a hit and two RBIs to lead the A’s.
Devin Donovan earned the win in relief of starter Colter Nelson, allowing three hits and three runs (two earned) in three innings.
Tommy Mortallaro was 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs to lead Fike, which finished its season at 19-15.