All summer long, the Lee’s Summit Legion Outlaws have stood out as one of the better American Legion baseball teams in the area. Which is what made their showing at last week’s Wood Bat Invitational all the more perplexing.
The Outlaws didn’t make it out of pool play in the 30-team tournament in Blue Springs, and they were drubbed in their final game. But if Outlaws’ manager Mike Gailey is disappointed by his team’s performance, he sure isn’t showing it.
“I think it was a good showing,” Gailey said. “I thought we were one of the best teams in there but we just didn’t get it done. I’m not ashamed of the way we played or anything like that.”
The Outlaws are ready to put their Wood Bat week behind them. And after drubbing the Independence Post 1000 Bears 11-1 and 13-0 July 14 at Legacy Park, it appears they have done just that. Those two wins secured the regular season district title for the Outlaws and made them the top seed in the Zone 2 West District tournament, which begins July 17 at the Independence Sports Complex.
Even if they don’t win the district tournament, the Outlaws are already guaranteed a spot in the zone tournament by winning the regular season. Winning the district would give them a first-round bye.
All this helps put the Outlaws’ 2-3 showing in the 26th annual Wood Bat, one of the largest and toughest Legion wooden-bat tournaments in the Midwest, in perspective. Both of their wins were five-inning shutouts, 8-0 over the Gravette, Ark., Lions and 10-0 over Leavenworth (Kan.) Geiger Redi-Mix. The pool play losses, to Washington (Mo.) Post 218 4-2 and Bellevue (Neb.) 339 2-1, came against teams that reached the quarterfinals.
In the final loss, 17-1 to Jefferson City Post 5 in the consolation round, Gailey approached the game with the more important Post 1000 double header in mind.
“We were 2-2 and we’d actually given up a total of six runs in four games,” of pool play, Gailey said. “Both of those teams end up making the final eight, so that tells you those were both good teams.
“And when we played Jeff City the last game we kind of threw different group of pitchers at them.”
The Lee’s Summit Pirates will also play in this week’s district tournament. The Pirates finished 1-4 in the Wood Bat tournament.