After finishing runner-up in the MINK League and advancing to Championship Week of the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan., Sedalia Bombers manager Jud Kindle reflected on how “scrappy” the team was this summer.
”I’m not surprised because we’ve been gritty all year with the players that we’ve had,” he said. “My players came there to win and that’s what they did.”
The Bombers went 4-3 in Wichita, with the season ending in an 8-3 loss to the Fairbanks (Alaska) Goldpanners on Sunday.
Several Bombers weren’t available to make the trip to Wichita, so Kindle was left to scramble to fill the roster.
“It was extremely difficult and we didn’t find very many,” Kindle said.
Pitchers Winston Lavendier and Cody Ponder came over from the Clarinda A’s, a MINK League foe.
Former Bomber and University of Central Missouri player Kevin Gratza also joined the team, along with brothers Robert and Alex Prieto. Jonathan Krysa was added to the pitching staff.
“The odds weren’t in our favor to do very well just because of the numbers we had,” Kindle said. “We had seven pitchers and eight position players.”
But the Bombers remained resilient and started the NBC World Series 3-0 before losing three of the next four.
“I was proud of our guys,” Kindle said. “They overcame a lot of adversity.”
The Bombers played teams from California, Alaska, Kansas, Texas and New Mexico.
“The first thing is that you don’t have a scouting report on them,” Kindle said. “You don’t know the style of ball they play, you don’t know what their pitchers throw and you don’t know where they hit the ball.”
Along with learning about the opponents, some Bombers players adjusted to new roles.
Pitcher Danny Chambliss was a reliever all summer for the Bombers, but made two starts and two relief appearances in a week in Wichita.
“Danny was a warrior,” Kindle said. “He was a senior and he’s the guy that wanted the ball in his hand and we wanted to give it to him.”
The infield for the Bombers stayed mostly intact, except at shortstop. Hunter Leeper, who plays mostly outfield, took over in that spot.
“Leeper can play anywhere,” Kindle said. “He’s a pretty special kid.”
The outfield was predominately Jordan Dey, Trey Turner and Robert Prieto, with Gratza playing left field a couple of times.
Next summer, Bombers fans may not have to get introduced to many new additions. Kindle said several are expected to return to the squad, including Tony Sandifer, Trey Hair, Alex Bee, Dey and Leeper.
“I think a lot of our guys are coming back,” he said. “It looks like we’re off to a good start recruiting. We just have to fill in some spots and find some pitching and I think we’ll be in pretty good shape.”