An aggressive base-running miscue by Connor Polacek paved the way to the biggest win of the season so for Independence Post 21 Sunday afternoon as Post 21 claimed a 9-5 come-from-behind win over Sedalia Post 642 in the American Legion Zone 2 Tournament championship at Liberty Park Stadium.

An aggressive base-running miscue by Connor Polacek paved the way to the biggest win of the season so for Independence Post 21 Sunday afternoon as Post 21 claimed a 9-5 come-from-behind win over Sedalia Post 642 in the American Legion Zone 2 Tournament championship at Liberty Park Stadium.

Post 21 will advance to the American Legion State Tournament where manager Tom Bush’s team will play its first game at 8 p.m. Thursday in Sedalia.

“It was the bottom of the fifth, we were down 3-0 and Connor was on first, so I gave him the steal sign,” said Bush, whose team won its first zone title since 1980, “thinking, if he gets thrown out, we have our No. 1 hitter up to lead off the next inning. I still don’t really know what happened, but it turned out to be one of the biggest plays of the game.”

After getting the steal signal from Bush, Polacek took off from first.

“I was trying to time the pitcher, but I went too soon,” Polacek said. “He still had the ball and I got in a rundown.”

Somehow, Polacek eluded a tag by the Sedalia shortstop and wound up on second base.

“They were arguing that he went out of the baseline to avoid the tag,” Bush said, “but the umpire’s ruling stood and we had a runner on second base. I’m sure glad he got out of that rundown.”

Polacek wound up scoring on a wild pitch and Post 21 added two more runs – on a second wild pitch and a Tyler Bodenstab RBI single – to knot the score at 3-all.

“That inning kind of sparked our offense,” Polacek said. “It’s kind of funny, you wonder what would have happened if I had been tagged out in the rundown. We turned a mistake into a big inning.”

Post 21 added three runs in the sixth, with Nick Andrales getting a two-run, two-out double. Post 21 added a trio of runs in the seventh and Josh Felz came in to relieve in the top of the ninth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Felz coaxed the final Travelers batter to pop up to Andrew Billingsley at third base to end the game.

“We had to use pitching by committee today,” Bush said. “We got five good innings out of Billingsley, then (Bobby) Brock came in and pitched well for 2 1/3 innings, before he got into some trouble. Then we brought in (Justin) Madsen, who did well until the ninth.

“Felz has a strong arm and he throws strikes. They had the bases loaded, and in a game where some strange things happened, you just want a kid to go out and throw strikes.”

And that’s what Felz did.

“I just wanted to throw strikes and get that last out,” Felz said. “When Andrew caught that final out, it was time to celebrate. This is all pretty cool.”

The never-say-die Post 21 squad came back from a 5-1 against Blue Springs Post 499/Fike Friday to claim a 7-6 victory in its first Zone 2 Tournament game and roared back from the 3-0 deficit Sunday.

“These guys don’t care what the score is,” Bush said, “because they are so confident. They know they’re going to find a way to win and they go out and win. We have a bad game every now and then, but we haven’t had one for a long time. And we played some good ball in Sedalia.”

Andrales and Felz singled and doubled, Billingsley and Brock had two singles, Cory Biegel and Bodenstab added RBI singles, Kyle Combs singled and scored twice.

INDEPENDENCE POST 21 4, SEDALIA POST 642 1: Post 21 advanced to the finals as winner Kyle Combs and Tyler Bodenstab  combined for a seven-hitter and nine strikeouts. Combs also singled twice and Josh Felz doubled.

BLUE SPRINGS ROD’S SPORTS A’S 4: BLUE SPRINGS POST 499/FIKE 2: David Stober spaced four hits and struck out five to lead the A’s.

Stober and Jay Corwin each singled and doubled, Wylson Lamb singled twice with one RBI and Corbin Hare doubled. Brett Valentine doubled with one RBI and Dylan Farrell homered to tie the score 2-2 for Fike in the bottom of eighth.

The A’s squeezed in the two winning runs in the top of the ninth.

CJ Egelston took the loss as a banner 48-14 Fike season came to an end.

SEDALIA POST 642 11, BLUE SPRINGS ROD’S SPORTS A’s 9: Sedalia scored seven unearned runs in the second inning and never looked back to end the A’s 42-16 season.

Spencer Schwandt suffered the loss. The A’s had 12 hits and were issued 13 walks but left l5 runners on base. They left the bases loaded twice and four times with two on base.

David Stober singled twice and doubled with three RBIs and walked three times, Brian Burasco doubled twice with two RBIs, Matt Morrison singled twice and James McKinley singled with three RBIs.