When asked to pinpoint the strength of his team, Lee’s Summit Legion Outlaws manager Mike Gailey found the answer hard to come by.
The pitching, perhaps?
“I think it’s awful good, but I think our defense goes hand in hand with that,” Gailey said. “And I think our hitting’s awful good.”
So there you have it. The Outlaws are good in a lot of ways, which is what one would expect from a team that returns all but two players from last year’s 41-10 squad. And Gailey makes no bones about it – this is a team that could go far in American Legion play this summer. In 2013, the Outlaws won the Zone 2 West with a 22-4 record, the Zone 2 West tournament and reached the semifinals of the Zone 2 tournament.
“Overall, I think we should be one of the favorite teams in our zone to get there,” said Gailey, who is in his 21st season managing the team.
The Outlaws have the pitching to get them into the state tournament. P.J. Seufert and Seth Soto head up a staff that returns 36 of the 41 wins from last year. Boosting that group is the addition of Miles Kilgore, who was a first-team all-Suburban Conference Big Six selection this spring at Lee’s Summit North.
“Miles was huge pickup for us,” Gailey said. “He’s a very unique individual, he keeps things lively. He has his own little quirks getting ready, but he’s a serious baseball man.”
The Outlaws should also be solid behind the plate, where catcher Quentin Bradford returns for his fourth season. Other experienced players include shortstop Dalton Woods and left-fielder and leadoff hitter Brett Conrow.
“I don’t know if we have a team leader,” Gailey said. “I could go down the whole group.”
Gailey will be looking to that experience to get the Outlaws over an early-season hiccup. After starting off 8-2, the Outlaws dropped four of five games in a tournament in South Dakota last weekend. They stood 9-6 going into a double header with the Post 189 Pirates scheduled for June 11 at Legacy Park.
“We lost three games by one run each,” Gailey said. “In all three games we had one big inning that killed us. It happens. Hopefully, it opened up our eyes as a team and a coaching staff that we still have a lot of work ahead of us to be where we want to be.”
But with so much experience and talent, Gailey doesn’t expect the Outlaws to struggle for too long.
“This is still a decent way to begin the season,” he said. “We’ll rebound and we’ll be ready to go.”