Only one team at the Missouri Senior Legion Zone 1 Tournament managed the biggest feat.
Washington Post 218, the tournament champion, defeated all three of the other teams in the event.
Post 218 (34-5) opened with a 12-2 win over the Kirksville Post 20 Redbirds Thursday.
Playing Friday, Washington lost to Jefferson City Post 5 in eight innings, 7-6, but came back to knock out fellow Ninth District rival Elsberry Post 226, 14-3. Elsberry had eliminated Kirksville between the two Washington games Friday, 13-5.
Post 218 found a way to pull off the upset Saturday, beating Jefferson City twice, 5-4 and 12-6, to win the Zone 1 title.
Prior to Saturday’s games, Jefferson City had won three of the past four games this season.
Jefferson City beat Washington, 11-3, at the Sedalia Jimmy Glenn Tournament June 2.
Post 218 won 9-4 at the Washington Wood Bat Tournament June 16.
At the Blue Springs Wood Bat Tournament semifinals, Jefferson City won 3-1 and went on to win the event title there.
And Jefferson City won Friday afternoon in eight innings, 7-6.
The teams played multiple times last season as well. Washington triumphed in the Zone 1 Tournament in Jefferson City, but Post 5 won at the state tournament.
Both teams advanced to the state tournament last year as Zone 1 had an extra bid to the event. This year, the extra bid has gone to Zone 4, which will have Ste. Genevieve Post 150 and Festus Post 253 playing in Sedalia. The other state qualifier is Sedalia Post 642, the Zone 2 champion.
Zone 3 does not have a representative as there are not enough teams. Any teams from the southwest part of the state have to play through Zone 2.
Trivia question — What is a common link between Trenton and Franklin County?
Answer — Burleigh Grimes.
The baseball hall of fame pitcher had farms near New Haven and Trenton. The tournament site, also used by North Central Missouri College in downtown Trenton, is named after him.
Ol’ Stubblebeard pitched for 19 seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, New York Giants, Boston Braves and New York Yankees. He went 270-212 with a 3.53 career ERA from 1916 to 1934 and was one of the last legal spitball pitchers.
The Ol’ Stubblebeard moniker also might have applied to the infield, which wasn’t nearly as lush as the nearby farmland. The playing surface was hard, which led to errors from all of the teams.
While they haven’t seen teams from other districts very often, locals remembered Washington Post 218 from the last Zone 1 Tournament hosted there.
The 2016 Zone 1 Tournament also took place in Trenton. That year, Washington also defeated Jefferson City in two championship games.
That year, Washington had to beat Post 5 in the winner-take-all game. Jefferson City lost in the opening round to Trenton and had to beat Moberly Post 5, Elsberry Post 226 and Trenton Post 31 to reach the championship series.
This time, Jefferson City won the first game, but Washington won the second game to advance to the state tournament.
Post 218 placed second in the state event that year to Sedalia Post 642.
Oddly, three of the same four teams are going to the state tournament this year. Joining Washington and Sedalia is Ste. Genevieve Post 150. The fourth team that year was the Hillcrest Merchants. This year, the fourth team is Festus Post 253.
Hit the Road
Trivia Answer No. 2 — 167.5
Question — What was the average distance for teams to travel to the Zone 1 Tournament?
That distance went up considerably when host Trenton Post 31 dropped out in the middle of last week. While it streamlined the tournament down to four teams with nobody getting an advantage, it did lead to some logistical issues.
With the tournament still being played at Burleigh Grimes Park, that meant the other four teams had to travel to Grundy County. The Kirksville Redbirds had the shortest trip, and the shortest stay. Kirksville was 66 miles from Trenton and lost its first two games to finish fourth.
The next-closest team was Jefferson City Post 5, which had 171 miles to cover between home and the tournament site.
Elsberry Post 226, the third-place team, had to travel 205 miles across the northern part of the state.
And Washington Post 218 had the longest trip, 229 miles from here.
Programs had many route possibilities to choose from. For Washington, that included passing through the hometowns of two of Missouri’s best-known U.S. Army generals of the 20th century.
Gen. Omar Bradley (World War II and the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) was born in Clark and lived in Moberly.
Gen. John Pershing, who commanded U.S. troops in Europe during World War I, was from Laclede, just west of Brookfield.
Both Bradley and Pershing are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.