For the fourth year in a row, manager Steve Workman’s Blue Springs Post 499/Fike Junior American Legion team is headed to the American Legion State Tournament.

For the fourth year in a row, manager Steve Workman’s Blue Springs Post 499/Fike Junior American Legion team is headed to the American Legion State Tournament.

And this year, it’s in his own backyard.

Fike will host this year’s tournament at Hidden Valley Park, where the 37-4 squad draws an opening bye and plays its first game at 3 p.m. Thursday.

Fike enters the tournament with a head of steam and a world of confidence after winning its last 18 games – including its district and zone.

It took some heroics to claim that zone victory as Fike overcame a 6-0 deficit in its first game before rallying for a 7-6 victory over Sedalia Post 642 and came back from an 8-2 deficit against Sedalia in the championship and earned a hard-fought 13-9 win.

“There’s a lot of fight in our kids – they just don’t give up,” Workman said. “It’s been that way from Day 1. This is our fourth year and we’ve been to state every year.”

Fike finished third at state its first year, won it in Year 2 and was fourth last year.

“The year we won it we were down by three in the seventh inning and I told the guys to not give up and they went out and scored nine runs,” Workman said.

One of the oldest sports clichés in the books is one Workman lives by: There is no “I” in team.

“We don’t even think about individual things, personal records, things like that,” he said. “It’s all about the team, and I think that’s one reason why we’re so successful.”

Fike owns an on-base percentage of .457. The team is bating .333 and has outscored its opponents by 208 runs. Fike has thrown three combined no-hitters and two of its four losses came in the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s Senior American Legion Tournament, where they beat the host team.

Over the past four years, Fike has won 80 percent (148-37) of its games.

“We just don’t like to talk about the individual players on the team, because it’s not about the individuals, it’s all about the team,” Workman said.

“We’re taking that team approach into state and hope to come out on top.”

While Workman is the face of the Junior Fike team, he prefers to step back and point the spotlight in the direction of his players, assistant coaches and former coach Rick Taylor.

“I miss Rick,” said Workman, who formed the team with Taylor in 2009. “His son Mowgs is on the Senior Fike team, and Rick meant a lot to this program. Now, we have my bench coach and pitching coach John Kirwin, first base coach Robert Smith and our hitting coach Dave Benson. And I don’t know where I’d be without them.  They are just invaluable to this team.

“And Gary Stone (an American Legion state official and former Hi Boy Drive-In/Post 340 manager) and John Curtis (a Kiwanis League official who oversees much of the Junior Legion program) have been so supportive.

“They have all played a role in our success.”