The 2012 American Legion season came to an early end for members of Oak Grove Post 379/, as their team did not make it out of zone play this past weekend.

By BILL ALTHAUS
bill.althaus@examiner.net

The 2012 American Legion season came to an early end for members of Oak Grove Post 379/, as their team did not make it out of zone play this past weekend.

But that didn’t stop a trio of Oak Grove players from making a big impact in Tuesday night’s American Legion All-Star Game that saw the East squad claim a 17-7 victory over the West.

Oak Grove catcher Zach Morgan was named the game’s MVP, pitcher Lucas Williams threw two shutout innings of relief and Colton Hilbrenner got the East’s offense rolling with a two-run triple in the top of the second inning.

“Our season didn’t end like we wanted,” said Morgan, who a tallied double, a two-run single and walked with the bases loaded, “so it’s nice to have all the guys be a part of this win.

“High school’s over, Legion ball is over and now it’s time to think about college. But we’ll all have some good memories from this game.”

Offense ruled as the two teams combined for 24 runs, 22 hits and five errors. There were 15 pitchers and four catchers used.

“I was talking to Tom (Bush, the West manager) before the game and he told me he had four first basemen and one catcher,” East manager Jack Gillis said. “I told him I had one first baseman and four catchers – those are the kind of things you deal with in a game like this.”

Managers also have to cognizant that the Zone 2 Tournament begins Thursday in Sedalia, Mo.

“Oh, believe me, we talked about that,” Gillis said. “I wasn’t going to pitch any of the Fike kids more than one inning so they will be ready to go at zone.”

Fike, Gillis’ Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s and Bush’s Independence Post 21 teams are all in the same side of the bracket at zone.

The East squad scored five runs in the top of the second with run-scoring triples by Hilbrenner and David Stober being the big hits of the inning.

“It’s great to contribute in an all-star game, especially since our season is over,” said Hilbrenner, who added a fielder’s choice RBI later in the game. “When you play you want to win. We’d rather have won zone, but this is a good win.”

Williams agreed.

“When you’re pitching against the best hitters in Legion, you want to make an impression,” Williams said. “We all played well. It was fun.”

The West squad made a run at the East in the bottom of the fifth inning. Tyler Bodenstab had a two-run single to lead a four-run inning which cut the deficit to 9-7, but the East never got any closer.

“It was fun coaching the guys, getting to know some of the kids from the other teams,” Gillis said. “We had to make some crazy changes in the lineups to make sure all the kids got into the game and got some at-bats and (Fike catcher) Dom DeFeo learned he could play first base.

“It took a little convincing, but he did a great job.”

Corbin Hare and Ryan Stick had three hits and scored three runs for the East. Kyle Foster had two doubles for the West.