Recent results were tossed aside as Sedalia Post 642 AUX ran through the AA American Legion District 7 Tournament undefeated, capping it off by defeating Odessa at Liberty Park Stadium Sunday afternoon.
Sedalia’s junior legion bunch proved that three losses to Odessa within the past two weeks were irrelevant. After action was postponed a day, the hosts beat the Bulldogs once Saturday, then again the next day, emerging from the double-elimination format with an 8-2 victory.
“It feels pretty nice,” said Zach Simmons, who started in Sunday’s triumph. “That’s a team we struggled with when we played them both at home and in Odessa, so it was real nice to get back at them in the games that mattered.”
Simmons struck out six in as many innings of work before Zapher Lea entered for a scoreless frame to seal the deal.
Lea also provided two innings of hitless bullpen work in a 10-6 win over Warrensburg Post 131 to open the action. Jeffrey Goodson got the nod in that game and provided an improved effort over his past several starts. Trint Grotzinger toed the rubber in the first game against Odessa, a 5-4 win, and went largely untouched with the exception of a four-run second inning.
All three starters performed well, but Simmons in particular had to make it relatively deep into Sunday’s game. An unexpected departure by one of the team’s better starters a week prior dented some of the depth, and Blaine Kreisel, who came in for Grotzinger, was unavailable after he barely exceeded the pitch count limit to be able to throw again without a day of rest.
“Especially once you get to 70, 80 pitches, you have to start throwing strikes [consistently] and making sure you’re getting outs,” said Simmons, who ended at 97 pitches. “With us not having a ton of pitching [depth], we’ve got to keep those down. I was just mixing it up to try and keep guys off-balance, and I felt like I had my fastball rising a little bit and that had them kind of hacking, so it felt good.”
Odessa starter Aiden Holmes ran into trouble Saturday in a fourth inning that proved paramount to Sedalia’s path to victory. After Lincoln Ditzfeld reached safely on a bunt to load the bases with no outs, Holmes proceeded to hit three players and walk two more as Sedalia scored a handful of runs that ended up being enough.
Post 642 AUX steadily extended the lead in Sunday’s game, finally posting a three-run sixth inning that included RBI doubles by Chase McMullin and Goodson to provide even more insurance than ended up necessary.
“We had them on the ropes the whole game but could never step on their throats,” Lang said. “We’d make a running mistake or get a guy doubled off, so it was nice to finally give ourselves a little bit of breathing room.”
Sedalia advances to the Zone 2 Tournament in Independence. Post 642 AUX will play Friday at 4 p.m. against the winner of a game the day prior between Lathrop Post 467 and Oak Grove Post 379. Win or lose, they’ll play again at 6 p.m. later that night in a bracket that also includes Gladstone Post 626 and Blue Springs Elks.
“If we play like we did this weekend, I don’t see any problem [winning],” Lang said. “I know we have to go through Elks, but if we can get past that one bad inning [we’ve had against them before] and limit them offensively, I think we can do it.”