The Rick Ball Ford Sedalia Juniors are heading to Warrensburg.
The junior legion team opens the UCM Tournament today, facing some tough teams.
“Predominately, all these teams will be from all around the Midwest,” said Juniors manager Jeff Mays. “They’re elite, showcase teams.”
The Juniors (11-2) open the tournament at 11 a.m. today against Wilson Prospects at UCM’s Crane Stadium before facing Inside Edge out of Kansas at 3 p.m. at the Warrensburg legion field. On Saturday, the Juniors will face the Springfield Nationals.
Switching between playing at a college facility at UCM and the high school and legion facility might be an adjustment, but it’s one Mays feels his team is ready for. He noted that while Crane Stadium has a field that tends to play fast, the Juniors are used to that coming from a similarly speedy Liberty Park.
“I think they’re used to the speed of the play,” Mays said. “One of our challenges will be our outfield play, being able to cut off some of those bigger gaps.”
The Juniors enter the tournament on a hot streak. After going 2-2 in the Memorial Day Tournament at Dey Field at Liberty Park, the Juniors haven’t lost a game since.
“We’ve played well,” Mays said. “We’ve been hitting the ball well. We won the tournament in Independence and beat some good teams up there.”
Last weekend, the Juniors won a pair of games in the Springfield Tournament against older teams, including a win over a Hollister team whose starting pitcher was a high school senior.
“We feel pretty good about how the guys are playing,” Mays said. “We’ve got guys on our team with some high school experience. Our pitching has been doing pretty well and we’re hitting the baseball.”
The Juniors’ pitching staff boasts Christian Jones, Corbin Mertgen and Chase Plymell, all 2-0 on the year, as well as Gavin Jones who pitched the team to a championship game win over Post 340 in Independence.
“We’ve got eight, nine arms that can throw,” Mays said.
Following the trip to Warrensburg, the Juniors will visit Fike on Tuesday and Odessa on Wednesday before returning to Warrensburg for another tournament next weekend.