Some of the top American Legion teams are on their way to Sedalia.
Dey Field at Liberty Park and the legion field in Warrensburg will host the Sedalia-Warrensburg Tournament, which will pit the Sedalia Travelers against some very good opponents.
“We can beat any team there is in the state,” said Travelers pitcher AJ Paul. “If we just give our best effort, I think we can beat any team here.”
The Travelers open the tournament against Quincy (Ill.) at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Liberty Park, a team the Travelers will see again in Springfield’s wood bat tournament later in the summer. After playing Quincy, the Travelers will face Fulton at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
“They were really good last year, one our our signature wins last year,” said Travelers manager Jade Samborski. “They get a lot of kids from around the Fulton area and some college kids.”
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Travelers will host Logan-Rogersville.
“That’s a quality program,” Samborski said. “They went to the final four in Class 4 this year. They’re going to be well-coached. They’re going to be disciplined. I was glad to see them in our tournament. That’s a good team to bring in.”
The Travelers enter the tournament with a six-game losing streak, but most of those losses have been close. After a 12-4 loss to the Blue Springs A’s, the Travelers have lost the last five games by a total of nine runs, including 5-2 and 4-3 losses in a doubleheader at Fike on Tuesday.
“We’re going to work out some things in the cage and talk about things, adjustments,” Samborski said. “They don’t like losing as much as I don’t like losing. I think they’re good character kids and I think we’re going to rebound.”
Samborski said he would rather drop those close games at this point in the season rather than later.
“We’ll just bounce back and fight hard and keep doing those things that we do best and let the chips fall where they may when it’s time,” he said.
Pitcher Austin Bullerd said the team is not far off from being able to pull out those close games.
“We just need to focus and get more quality at-bats,” he said. “Lately we’ve been popping up a lot and we just need to focus at the plate.”
Meanwhile on defense, the team has been solid.
“We haven’t had too many errors and we’ve turned them around and fixed them quickly,” Bullerd said. “Our pitching has been able to limit them to a few runs and our hitting just hasn’t quite taken off like we were expecting it to.”