With the American Legion postseason continuing, four area teams still are alive in their respective competitions.
The Washington Post 218 Freshman Legion team is at the state level after pulling off a double championship by winning the Ninth District regular season and district tournaments. The Freshman Legion state tournament is being played in Branson.
The Post 218 Juniors and Pacific Post 320 Juniors are playing at the Zone 1 Tournament here in Washington. The event starts Thursday at Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field.
And, the Post 218 Seniors will be playing in the Ninth District Tournament this week.
Post 218 looks for its second straight title at the Freshman Legion State Tournament at Pirate Park in Branson.
The field is located at Cedar Ridge Elementary School. The address is 402 Cedar Ridge Drive, Branson, MO 65616.
Washington defeated Ste. Genevieve in last year’s state title series, which went to a second and deciding game.
“Our challenge is to make teams beat us. We’re the defending state champions. They’ve got to come take it from us. That’s our mentality we’re taking to Branson,” said Post 218 Freshman Manager Jordan Bierbaum. “Kody Halmich and Gus Kleekamp played on our team last year that went to state. For everyone else, it will be a new experience. It took awhile to get everyone into a groove and to realize that this team is capable of accomplishing the same thing we did last year. We’ve reached that point now and the guys are confident that we can do it.”
First-round games in the eight-team field take place Wednesday.
Elsberry plays Glendale at 11 a.m. followed by Eureka against Ste. Genevieve at 1:30 p.m., Jackson against Waynesville at 4 p.m. and Washington Post 218 against Branson at 6:30 p.m.
“You never know about the host team. They could be good or they could be bad. You’re not quite sure,” Bierbaum said. “We like where we are. We’re on the other side of the bracket from Ste. Genevieve, who has given us trouble this year. Ste. Genevieve and Jackson always have good teams. Both are very well coached and have good programs.”
All eight teams will play again on Thursday.
The losers’ bracket games will be played at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The Post 218-Branson loser plays at 12:30 p.m.
The winners’ bracket games are scheduled for 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. The Post 218-Branson winner plays at 5:30 p.m.
The winners’ bracket final is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m.
The championship series will start Saturday at 2:30 p.m. If a second game is needed, it will be played on Sunday.
Washington has played against Elsberry, Ste. Genevieve and Jackson this season.
Post 218 is 2-1 against Elsberry with wins of 8-2 and 3-0 and a loss of 4-0.
Washington is 0-2 against Ste. Genevieve with losses of 9-2 and 11-1. Post 218 is 0-1 against Jackson with a 7-4 loss.
The final American Legion baseball tournament scheduled for Rotary Recreational Complex - Ronsick Field gets started Thursday with two games.
Hannibal plays Chillicothe at 5 p.m. while Pacific will take on Jefferson City at 8 p.m.
In action Friday, Post 218 is the last team to get started and will play the Hannibal-Chillicothe winner at 5 p.m.
Washington has played two of the teams in the tournament. Post 218 holds a 3-1 record against Pacific with 11-5 and 4-0 wins in the Ninth District Tournament and a 3-1 win during regular season play. Pacific won the first meeting, 9-5.
Washington defeated Hannibal, 2-0.
“You can’t ask for too much more than that,” Post 218 Manager Phillip Kleekamp said about playing at home. “It’s still going to take a great effort. We have seen Hannibal and we’ve obviously seen Pacific. It’s nice to have it here at home and see everyone come out and support Post 218 baseball.”
Pacific has beaten Hannibal twice, 4-3 and 2-0, this season.
“I told our kids that no matter what happens, we’re in the zone,” said Pacific Manager Cory Cowsert. “It’s always nice to win, but go out, have fun and play baseball. I think they did. They’re upset they lost, but they know it’s not the end of the season.”
The Zone 1 Tournament winner advances to the Missouri State Tournament in Joplin next week.
The Ninth District Senior Legion Tournament will consist of one bracket with eight teams.
Washington Post 218, the Ninth District regular season champion, will advance to the Zone 1 Tournament in Moberly, along with the tournament winner. If Post 218 also wins the postseason tournament, then West, the second-place team in the regular season, will advance to the Zone 1 event along with Post 218.
West is seeded second for the district tournament followed by St. Charles, Central, Elsberry, St. Peters, Wentzville and Daniel Boone.
Tournament games will take place at Westhoff Park in O'Fallon and the Rec-Plex in St. Peters.
Post 218 opens the tournament against Daniel Boone Thursday at 6 p.m. at Westhoff Park. The winner plays the Central-Elsberry winner Friday at 6 p.m. at Westhoff Park.
The tournament continues Saturday and concludes Sunday with the championship game at 3 p.m. at Westhoff Park. If a second championship game is needed, it will be played Monday at 6 p.m. at Westhoff Park.
Washington went undefeated during league games this season. With Washington already assured a spot in the zone, Gardner has room to experiment and give injured players some rest.
The pitching staff is having the most issues. Brendan Feldmann made his return to the hill at the Blue Springs Tournament, but Washington lost Jared Walde for an unknown length of time in the final game. Walde reported hearing something pop in his shoulder, Gardner said, during the championship game against Jefferson City Post 5. He is expected to be evaluated.
Also, Tony Helfrich could be on track for a return to the hill in the district tournament. He has had successful bullpen sessions while returning from an elbow injury. Helfrich, this week named to the all-state media baseball team (second team Class 4 pitcher) recently signed to continue his baseball career at Rockhurst University.
The Zone 1 Tournament starts in Moberly Thursday, July 25.