Union Post 297 now knows its first-round opponent for the Missouri Freshman Legion State Tournament.
Post 297 (23-7-2) will take on the Park Hills Post 39 Rebels Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Jackson.
“One of my favorite things in high school and Legion ball is playing new teams that you’ve never seen before,” Post 297 Manager Ryan Bailey said. “It just gives a feeling of excitement to the game. Getting to play good teams we’ve never played against will make for a good challenge and great memories.”
Union and Park Hills are two of the eight teams which will play in the state tournament. The other first-round games are:
• Cape Girardeau Post 63 versus Ballwin Post 611 at 10 a.m.;
• Sedalia Post 642 versus Jefferson City Post 5 at 4 p.m.; and
• Gladstone Herrick Memorial Post 626 Owls versus Jackson Post 158 at 7 p.m.
The tournament picks back up Thursday with four more second-round games. The event is double elimination with the championship game set for Saturday at 1 p.m. The if-needed game will be Sunday at 1 p.m.
This is Union’s second trip to the state tournament. Post 297 was fourth last year.
Cape Girardeau Post 63 is the top returning team in this year’s tournament after finishing third last year. Gladstone Herrick Memorial Post 626 and Jackson Post 158 also are back. Gladstone tied for fifth and Jackson tied for seventh.
While Union has not played Park Hills Post 39 this season, it has played teams Park Hills vanquished in the District 13 Tournament. Park Hills knocked out Festus Post 253 Red and Festus Post 253 Navy as well as De Soto.
Union tied De Soto twice and won once. Against Festus Post 253 Navy, Union won both games. Festus Post 253 Red went 3-0 against Union.
Of the other teams in this year’s tournament, Union has played only one, splitting with Jefferson City Post 5.
There’s another wrinkle for Union Post 297 for this event. While Union played most of the season, including all Ninth District games, with wood bats, this tournament has no bat restrictions.
“We used metal bats at practice for the first time since mid-May so I’m sure there will be some adjustment but I know the boys said they forgot how much they loved hitting a ball on the sweet spot and seeing it jump off the bat,” Bailey said. “We just have to make sure we don’t let the other teams do that!”