Manager Tom Bush sat on a cooler under a shade tree at Dey Field Friday morning following Independence Post 21’s 7-6 come-from-behind victory over Blue Springs Post 499/Fike.
Manager Tom Bush sat on a cooler under a shade tree at Liberty Park Stadium/Dey Field Friday morning following Independence Post 21’s 7-6 come-from-behind victory over Blue Springs Post 499/Fike.
“I want you to dwell on something,” he told his team, “we’re halfway there to going to state. Think about that, let it soak in . . .”
The comment drew nods of approval and high-fives from the only area Legion team to hold a winning record at the Zone 2 Tournament.
Post 21 downed the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s 3-1 Thursday and Fike Friday to earn a rest until Saturday’s 4 p.m. contest.
“This is a team game,” Bush said, “and we proved that today. Just look at Justin Madsen – he hasn’t pitched in two or three weeks, since the Wood Bat Invitational – and look at the job he did today. We might not win this game without Justin.”
Post 21 trailed 6-1 when Madsen took over for reliever Stuart Laber.
He faced nine Fike batters and retired each one of them.
While he was getting the job done on the mound, his teammates were getting it done at the plate, scoring five runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score at 6-all and winning it on Josh Felz’s game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.
“I just do what they ask me to do,” said Madsen, who was still being congratulated by his teammates long after the game had ended. “Whatever, whenever – if they ask me to do something to help the team, I’m going to do it.
“It was 6-1 when I came into this game, and I thought we could win and all the guys on the team thought we could win. We’ve had quite a few comeback wins this season, but this was the biggest one.”
While Madsen starred on the mound, Felz starred at the plate collecting four singles and scoring a run and driving in a run.
“Justin got us into the ninth inning,” Felz said. “He was great today. He gave all of us a boost the way he was pitching.”
And Cory Biegel gave his team a lift with one of the top defensive plays of the entire season.
With a runner on second base, Dylan Farrell lofted a high pop up behind second base.
Biegel ran down the ball and made a diving catch, with his back to the infield.
CJ Egelston followed with a two-run homer, so Biegel’s catch kept Fike from taking even more than a 6-1 lead.
“At the time, with Egelston following with that homer, you didn’t know how big Cory’s catch was,” Bush said. “That kid has played some of the best second base I’ve ever seen. At one point this season, he had more than 100 chances and had only made two errors.
“One of the biggest differences today was defense. We played outstanding defense and Jim’s kids made five errors. That’s a lot of errors in a game like this.”
Fike manager Jim Moran agreed.
“In the last few games we’re lost, we’ve played some shaky defense,” Moran said. “Before this tournament started I told you that the team that made the fewest mistakes would have the most success. Tom’s kids didn’t make an error and we made five.”