Battleline: Playoffs Bring Weird Plays - The Missourian: Opinion

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Battleline: Playoffs Bring Weird Plays

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Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 5:00 pm | Updated: 8:41 am, Thu Jul 26, 2012.

Before I get into the main part of the column, congratulations to the Washington Post 218 Freshman Legion team managed by Kevin Juergens.

Post 218 Sunday claimed the post’s fourth state championship going along with 1957, 1989 (Senior Legion) and 2005 (Junior Legion).

The 1957 winner claimed the state prize in the only class offered in those years. The 2005 and 2012 state winners advanced as far as they could, winning out.

The 2005 Juniors won the Mid-States Regional in Crowley, La., while the Post 218 Freshmen won the state title. American Legion baseball offers no competition beyond those levels.

The Post 218 Freshmen have had other close calls, placing second in the state tournament multiple times, including the first year Missouri offered that level.

It would be nice to see all four of those teams recognized somewhere in town. Right now, only the 1989 team is recognized at Post 218, but there should be something up somewhere to note the other three state winners.

•••

Maybe it’s the heat.

Maybe it’s something else.

For some reason, the weirdest baseball situations keep popping up locally.

I’ve been on the job here at The Missourian for 22 years and never have I seen so many people poring through rule books as the past several days.

Let’s start with the odd situation concerning the Washington-Daniel Boone Junior Legion Zone 1 Tournament opener Thursday night.

The rivalry between the two teams heated up even more when Daniel Boone tried to make a pitching change. Daniel Boone wanted to just make a switch with Hunter Murphy going to first base while Brandon Trimble went to the hill. Post 218 staff members objected, stating that the coach went to the mound first, thus having to remove Murphy from the game.

A protest was lodged and Washington continued its rally to take an 11-6 lead. And Post 218 had settled down in the top of the next inning to seemingly take charge.

But then the managers were summoned once again. The protest had been upheld with a call from the site coordinator to the state commissioner. The game was reset to the point of the protest and this time Daniel Boone escaped the bases-loaded situation and rallied in the top of the next inning to take the lead.

So, an 11-6 Washington lead turned into a 10-9 Daniel Boone advantage by the end of the half-inning which had been live when the protest was upheld supposedly for a clause in the rules applying specifically to Junior Legion playoff games.

Give the tournament staff credit. It was not an easy decision to make and to take runs and outs off the board baffled many of the fans. But the alternate option, to play the game out and then rule on the protest, wouldn’t have helped anybody. As we saw, Daniel Boone got stretched to the limit by Hannibal in the championship series, needing a 10-inning victory in the winner-take-all game Saturday to earn a trip to the state tournament.

Before moving on to the next odd happening, there are a couple of brief notes about the Junior Legion Zone Tournament.

Scott Horace, the Daniel Boone manager, played baseball for the Southeast Missouri State Indians (before the PC craze got there) from 1988-90, ironically the same years I worked on the sports staff of the school newspaper, the Capaha Arrow.

One couldn’t ask for more excitement at the Zone Tournament. The final game went 10 innings with Daniel Boone winning. Give Hannibal credit for forcing them to bring out their best to survive. Hannibal knocked out another outstanding team in beating Post 218. Good luck to Daniel Boone in representing this area in the state tournament in Blue Springs.

The next odd play happened Friday night during the Washington-Daniel Boone Senior Legion Ninth District South Division Tournament at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field having to do with whether a ball got into the dugout on an overthrow and who should, or should not, have scored. The decision in that one didn’t effect the game’s final outcome.

There was another bizarre call when the teams met again Sunday in the title game at Ronsick Field.

With a runner on third base, Washington’s batter lined a ball into the glove of Daniel Boone’s shortstop. The ball was at ground level when it got to the shortstop, who had scooped into the loose dirt to make the snag.

Washington’s runner on third, moving on contact, just kept going and crossed the plate as Daniel Boone first threw to third and then threw past the catcher. Meanwhile, the batter kept running on the play and made it all the way to third.

Somehow, after much debate, the official ruling on the play was that Washington picked up one out, the run did not score and a runner was on third.

Most of the folks watching what happened tried to figure out what in the world happened. It was like trying to figure out who built the pyramids. Logically, it would have seemed that there either should have been two outs on the play, or there should have been no outs and another run being scored. What made things even more confusing was the fact that Daniel Boone twice appealed the play at third base to no avail.

I later was told the batter, Sam Deschenes, was called out on the liner. The runner, Mike McGilvray, scored, it was ruled that Daniel Boone did not get the ball to third base to double him up before he hustled back after scoring. So McGilvray was back on third and Deschenes was the out on the scoreboard.

After Mike Gardner explained it that way, it was simple to piece together what happened. So, why couldn’t the umpires have done that at the game?

Questioning what happened eventually got the Daniel Boone first base coach tossed from the game and the rest of the dugout warned with the same fate if they continued to question what happened.

The Senior Legion Zone 1 Tournament is coming up later this week. Let’s hope that the weird, wacky and unusual plays don’t come back with the heat.

Speaking of the Zone 1 Tournament, we’re going to see the same five teams which played in last year’s Zone 1 Tournament at Lindenwood University last summer.

Representing the Ninth District will be Washington, West and St. Charles. And St. Charles again is the “host” team. Moberly Post 6 and Jefferson City Post 5 round out the field.

In fact, the bracket is exactly as it was last year. The Washington-Jefferson City winner has an edge as it will go straight to the winners’ bracket final and wait for someone to survive the West-St. Charles-Moberly furball on the other side of the bracket.

If you want to add insult to injury, the two teams losing in the first two rounds there have to play each other in an elimination game.

Surprises happen, but one has to feel that somehow Washington and West will be pulled to each other by magnetic force to contest the title.

It’s really too bad. It’s been shown this year that the Ninth District has some really strong teams but only one of the zone teams will move on to Sedalia.

Washington and West played for the championship of the 32-team Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament and the 12-team Washington Wood Bat Showcase. The only twist is that this time they’ll be using metal bats.

Obviously, we have no idea who will be going to the state tournament. You’ve got to like the chances of our Zone 1 representative though. But just to earn the right to go to Sedalia is going to take some strong play in a good Zone 1 Tournament.

/opinion

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