July 16, 2013
The Sedalia junior Legion baseball team was scheduled to play St. Joseph on Saturday, but St. Joseph didn’t have enough players to field a team. While other junior Legion teams played district games on Sunday, Sedalia has no other team in its district.
All of this means that when the team finally takes the field to open the Zone 2 tournament at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Blue Springs against Fike, it will have been nearly two weeks since the players last took the field for a game.
“It’s always the case that when you have a huge layoff it’s a concern, but it’s always nice to go into a zone tournament fresh,” said manager Brent Hodge.
With no games to play, the team has been practicing to try to stay sharp.
“We’ve got pitchers throwing to batters, lots of ground ball work, fly ball work,” Hodge said. “The big thing is pitchers getting to throw a little bit.”
Even in between practices, the players themselves have been making sure they stay in shape.
“Most of our guys are pretty good about calling each other, playing catch,” Hodge said. “Baseball is one of those sports where if you put it away for a period of time, it’s hard to get it back.”
The team hasn’t played since July 6, when it finished off a 3-1 run at the Wood Bat tournament in Blue Springs, but this season has seen a lot of success. The team enters the zone tournament with a 23-11 record.
“Lately we’ve been playing really good baseball,” Hodge said. “(We’ve got) offense and defense, we get the pitching performances on the mound, and we’re coming up with good hits when we need them.”
A big part of the pitching has been Roberto Ramirez, who Hodge said is eating up innings and throwing complete games.
“(He is) constantly filling up the strike zone and keeping hitters off balance,” Hodge said.
Hodge expects Ramirez to be one of the key pitchers at the zone tournament, along with Dom Zerilli and Trey Green.
Behind the plate this season has been another solid contributor, Mason Kelchner, who also spent time with the senior Legion Travelers.
“He’s a competitor,” Hodge said. “He’s got a bulldog mentality behind the plate and will pretty much do what you ask him to do and he hits it.”