When the Missouri Senior Legion State Tournament finished last weekend in Sedalia, it wasn’t the end of the road for one of the finalists.
That’s because Missouri has been given a second spot in this year’s Mid-South Regional to be held Aug. 7-11 in Hastings, Neb.
That means state champion Sedalia Post 642 and runner-up Festus Post 253 will keep playing this week.
It’s not the first time Missouri has been granted a second spot, but it is the first time the runner-up has been guaranteed to continue prior to the state tournament.
In 2015, Washington Post 218 was the runner-up to Blue Springs Post 499/Fike. When the Iowa state champion backed out, Post 218 stepped into its spot in the Central Plains Regional in Bismarck, N.D. Washington went 1-2 in that event.
Last year, state runner-up Cape Girardeau Post 63 went to the Mid-South Regional in New Orleans when Oklahoma champion Ada Post 72 Braves couldn’t get enough players to commit.
With 113 teams registered at all levels, Missouri ranks 10th in the nation.
States with more teams are:
• Minnesota 366;
• Nebraska 271;
• Pennsylvania 253;
• Wisconsin 217;
• Illinois 137;
• Massachusetts 137;
• North Carolina 120;
• Connecticut 119; and
• Idaho 117;
States in the Mid-South regional are Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas. Two states in the region the last time Post 218 played in the Mid-South, Louisiana and Tennessee (the two states Washington played in 2012), have been moved to the Southeast Region.
Nebraska, in the Central Plains regional last year, already gets a second team this year as the host.
Among the other states, Oklahoma has six registered teams. There are seven teams in Texas (six Senior teams). Arkansas has 57 teams with 29 of them being at younger levels.
It is not immediately known whether all champions will attend this year. The Ada Post 72 Braves, Oklahoma’s defending state champion, were a no-show at the Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament a few weeks ago.
The Mid-South Regional starts Wednesday at Duncan Stadium in Hastings, Neb., with a 10 a.m. game between the Coweta, Okla., Post 226 and Texas champion Texarkana Post 25.
The second game starts at 1 p.m. with the Sedalia Post 642 Travelers playing Nebraska champion Fremont Post 20.
The Kansas champion, Emporia Post 5, then plays Festus Post 253 at 4 p.m.
The final game of the day is between Arkansas champion Bryant Post 298 and the host team, Hastings Five Points Bank at 7 p.m. The opening ceremonies will be held before this game, including a first pitch by Tom Osborne, a Hastings native who was Nebraska’s football head coach and later served as a congressman.
All eight teams will play again Thursday, Aug. 8, before the double-elimination tournament moves on.
American Legion baseball has a different bracket where one arm of the losers’ bracket plays back into the winners’ bracket prior to the final. That leaves situations where there can be three teams remaining with one loss apiece.
Tournament administration also tries to prevent teams from playing someone they’ve played earlier in the event.
The national tournament takes place in Shelby, N.C., Aug. 15-20. The Mid-South winner will be in the Stars Division with the Southeast, Great Lakes and Western regions.
The Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Central Plains and Northwest winners will be in the Stripes Division.
The national tournament runs with pool play among divisions with the top two teams from each making the semifinals Monday, Aug. 19. The championship will be Tuesday, Aug. 20.
ESPN 3 will air the games on the first day with ESPN U taking over for the next four days.
The championship will be televised on ESPNEWS.
The two Missouri representatives will play at Duncan Field in Hastings, Neb.
The stadium was built in 1940 as a public works project and features a spacious outfield and a red brick wall.
Originally called Pershing Field, it was renamed for Donald Duncan, a trailblazer for Little League baseball in that Nebraska city.
From 1956-59, the stadium had a Class D Nebraska State League minor league team affiliated with the New York/San Francisco Giants (the team moved during that period).
Duncan Stadium has hosted the American Legion World Series four times (before it was moved permanently to Shelby, N.C.).
In 1959, Thomas A. Edison Post 187 from Detroit won the American Legion title there. In 1960, the national champion was New Orleans Post 125.
The 1961 World Series was won by Phoenix, Ariz.
The next time the national tournament returned was 1969 when Portland, Ore., Post 105 claimed the title.
The venue is the home to Hastings College, American Legion, the Hastings Sodbusters (Expedition League, summer wood bat college league) and St. Cecelia football. It was renovated in 2014, including improvements in nearly every area. The stadium seats 1,300 spectators.
Reports state this is the first time Nebraska will be hosting a regional since 2004, when Omaha hosted at Seymour Smith Park.
Hastings last hosted a regional tournament in 1976.