Independence Post 21’s Tyler Bodenstab made the most of his lone American Legion All-Star Game appearance, collecting a two-run single in his West squad’s 17-7 loss to the East All-Stars Tuesday night at Hidden Valley Park.

Independence Post 21’s Tyler Bodenstab made the most of his lone American Legion All-Star Game appearance, collecting a two-run single in his West squad’s 17-7 loss to the East All-Stars Tuesday night at Hidden Valley Park.

The first time the Hi Boy Drive-In/Post 340 outfielder made the All-Star squad, the game was rained out.

Last year, he was on the sidelines, rehabbing a broken leg he suffered in his senior season at Truman High School.

“You know the saying, ‘You don’t appreciate something until it’s taken away?’’ asked Bodenstab, who is enjoying a monster season for Independence Post 21. “Well, it’s true. I eat, breathe and sleep baseball, and I have for as long as I can remember. But when I broke my leg my senior year at Truman, that’s when I realized how special it was. It was tough not being able to play the game. Now, I don’t take any part of it for granted.”

Bodenstab works construction all day on projects ranging from deck work to pouring piers for new homes, but it takes more than 104-degree weather and a tough, eight-hour schedule to dull his enthusiasm.

“It’s tough work,” said Bodenstab, who sports a .400 average for the American Legion Zone 2 West Division regular-season champions, “but I need the money for school. I get pretty tired, but it never affects me once I get to the park.

“I didn’t work all those hours of rehab to complain about working during the day and then playing baseball at night. The toughest thing I ever did was watch my Truman High School teammates play in district my senior year while I was sitting in a wheelchair.

“I can take a little heat and hard work, knowing that I will be playing a game that night.”

Bodenstab was penciled in to be one of the premier high school players two years ago when the unthinkable happened.

“I was pitching at Park Hill and there was a little bloop hit on the infield,” he explained. “Our first baseman and I went after it and we collided and I got tangled up with him and broke my right leg.”

The break was so severe it had to be repaired with a titanium rod.

“I have about a foot worth’s of titanium in my leg,” quipped Bodenstab, “so does that make me Titanium Man? Or at least Titanium Leg Man?”

It’s nice to see he hasn’t lost his sense of humor, as he attempts to lead Post 21 to an American Legion Zone 2 Tournament title. Post 21 started the tourney against the Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s on Thursday, but the score was not available at press time.

“You talk about a great kid and a great leader,” Post 21 manager Tom Bush said. “You just hate to see a great kid get hurt, and he played a little for us last year, but he was still coming off that broken leg.

“This year, we’ve played him everywhere and he’s done a great job. I’m really happy that he made the all-star team, because he deserves it.

“He could have played in three of these things, and at least he got his chance this year.”

Following his senior year at Truman, Bodenstab went to Missouri Western State University, but things didn’t work out. He’s now a member of the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla) baseball team that just wrapped up a 34-14 season.

“I redshirted, and worked hard to make sure that I would be ready to play next season,” Bodenstab said. “We’ve had a great Legion season and my leg feels awesome. I don’t even think about it anymore.”