This story has been updated.
BLUE SPRINGS — The Travelers are coming home.
Post 642 Sedalia secured a place in the American Legion AAA Missouri State Tournament with a 12-7 victory Sunday against the Lee’s Summit Outlaws at Jim Moran Field at Hidden Valley Park.
Playing within the familiar confines of Liberty Park Stadium, the Travelers open state tournament play 5 p.m. Thursday against Zone 4 champion Ste. Genevieve (24-9).
Post 218 Washington (34-5) and Post 253 Festus (30-9), which finished runner-up in Zone 4, meet on the opposite side of the double-elimination bracket.
The No. 3-seeded Travelers (27-16) survived a late surge from the Lee’s Summit Outlaws, which nearly erased an eight-run lead, to claim the Zone 2 Tournament.
Sacrificing a pair of outs for runs in the fourth, Lee’s Summit chased Travelers starter Connor Tichenor in the next frame a five-run, two-out rally that left Sedalia clinging to an 8-7 lead. Brody Kindle was first out of the bullpen, moving from third base to pitch with the bases loaded.
Kyler Simoncic fired two scoreless innings and was supported by four insurance runs, three of which the Travelers notched in the seventh. Sedalia loaded the bases in the sixth and scored one run on a Baron Austin single.
Playing as well as anyone at Hidden Valley, Brandon Kindle homered in the first inning, was intentionally walked in the sixth and plated a run on a hard-hit grounder ruled an error.
Brandon said he has felt especially comfortable in the batter’s box this season, and has had a strong campaign to show for it.
“It’s really exciting, especially when you have your family and friends around,” Brandon said.
Tichnor had three hits, scored twice and drove in two runs. Baron Austin, who also drove in a pair, and Braiden McEachern joined their Northwest Mustangs classmate with multi-hit performances. Brody and Brandon Kindle recorded two RBIs apiece as the Travelers collected 12 hits and six walks.
Tichenor, who earned the save Friday against the Outlaws, nearly escaped the fifth inning with an 8-3 standing. An error helped extend the lead-threatening fifth inning, where Tichenor was charged with four unearned runs.
Despite the lead-threatening exchange, Tichenor said he and the Travelers continued with poise. They have qualified for three of the last four state tournaments, finished a run shy of qualifying last summer, and captured the state title in 2016.
“It’s a cool thing to be apart of,” Tichenor said. “Everyone here’s kind of made it like a culture. You expect to be there.”
Eliminated in last summer’s zone championship, Post 642 head coach Tanner McKee said he is glad to field a team at the state tournament he helps host.
“It kind of stinks when you have to host it and you’re not in it,” McKee said. “You still have to work it, you’re still there. … It’s nice to get there, play in it in front of your home crowd, and see what you can do.”
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2.