Things don’t get much hotter than the Ninth District Senior Legion playoff picture.
By the time you read this, we’ll have a pretty good idea of who will be seeded where for the upcoming district tournament.
Eight of the league’s nine teams will go on to the postseason. There’s a head-to-head showdown between New Haven Post 366 and Wentzville Post 323 Tuesday and Wednesday to see which one will keep playing.
League organizers have to be thrilled about how other schedules just happened to end up as well. Sullivan Post 18 and St. Charles Post 312 are playing each other and they’re tied at 7-7 in the league. Additionally, spots could fluctuate when St. Clair Post 347 plays Hannibal Post 55. Both are in the playoffs, but where they’re seeded is up in the air.
The division’s best team so far has been Washington Post 218. Washington went undefeated at 16-0 to win the regular season title, outscoring the competition by a 150-15 clip.
Second place belongs to Elsberry Post 226 at 11-5. Elsberry has outscored the competition by a 118-38 margin.
Post 218 already has a berth in the Zone 1 Tournament in Trenton. The tournament winner also will follow. If that’s Washington, Elsberry will grab the second spot in the zone event.
Before the playoffs start, several of the teams still have the Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament. That major event starts Wednesday. Elsberry is the defending champion with Washington finishing second last season.
The younger levels are already at the levels beyond the district level and there should be some interesting results.
The Junior Legion Zone 1 Tournament is being played in Kirksville with Rhineland Post 147 as the Ninth District winner, Washington Post 218 as the runner-up, Jefferson City Post 5 as the District 8 winner, Moberly Post 6 representing Districts 1-2 and the Kirksville Redbirds as the host.
Washington already has a state berth as the event host. That means some strong teams are playing for one additional state berth.
Rhineland has one of the best Junior Legion teams I’ve seen this season. They have very solid pitching and they don’t make mistakes.
Jefferson City always has good players and you get a great game every time you see them on the field. I don’t know much about Kirksville or Moberly. That information just isn’t out there.
The big wildcard which could hurt the Ninth District teams is metal bats. The Ninth District played all season with wood bats and it will be a bit of a change to go back to metal. The metal bats are supposed to be equal to the best wood bats, but there’s a difference. How the Ninth District teams adjust back to metal will determine if Rhineland can join Washington at the state event.
The Freshman Legion postseason has reached the state tournament in Jackson. Since there is no level beyond the state tournament for Freshman baseball, the rules are a little different and that’s why we get an eight-team state tournament.
Union Post 297 is the district’s lone representative this season and Ryan Bailey’s squad captured both the regular season and postseason titles.
How will Union do at the state event? Hard to say as information about the other teams is hard to find.
Union’s first-round opponent, Park Hills Post 39, has been successful against teams which Union faced early in the season. It should be exceptionally interesting to see how that goes.
The big thing in an eight-team tournament is staying in the winners’ bracket. It’s extremely tough (but not impossible) to make it all the way back after losing in the opening round. Winning that game is critical.
Like the Juniors, the Freshman Legion Tournament runs without bat restrictions. Bailey’s team has been working out with the metal bats so there is no shock factor.
Hopefully, we’ve got some Ninth District teams who will have success in the postseason. Between bat changes and a fatigue factor in playing one of the state’s biggest district tournaments, that small edge tends to hurt our teams beyond the district level. Hopefully, that’s something which changes this summer.
If you’re not willing to travel this weekend for baseball, there’s plenty going on closer to home.
The Gateway Swimming and Diving League Spitz Division Championship Meet will be held all day Saturday at the Pacific City Pool. All three area teams, Washington, Union and Pacific, will be there.
Pacific’s Dive Team competes Sunday morning in the Gateway Swimming and Diving League championship at Cool Dell.
The Washington Youth Sports Association is holding its annual All-Star Weekend Saturday and Sunday at Dutzow Ballpark.
And that’s just the events we know about. I’m sure there’s plenty more out there that we haven’t heard about. If you’ve got something coming up, or an event worthy of a story, let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.