Every baseball team hits a rough patch at some time, and that was certainly true for the Lee’s Summit Legion Outlaws.
The Outlaws just picked a real bad time to have one.
The Outlaws finished their season with two losses last week in the American Legion AAA State Tournament, falling to Jefferson City Post 5 11-2 on July 31 and to the Joplin Miners 10-7 in seven innings in an elimination game Aug. 1. In neither game, Outlaws’ manager Mike Gailey said, did the team play anywhere near the level that got it to the state’s final four.
“We just had a bad couple of games,” Gailey said. “It happens. Sometimes if you’re playing teams not as strong as you, you can weather it. These were very good teams and we couldn’t get away with it.”
A solid defensive team most of the summer, the Outlaws struggled in the field at Sedalia’s Liberty Park, coughing up two errors in the first game and six in the second. The normally reliable pitching surrendered big innings in both games.
“If we had played like the way we did the week before in winning the zone tournament, I think the results would have been a lot different,” Gailey said.
The Outlaws did battle back from early deficits in both games. They trailed 3-0 against Jefferson City in the first game before scoring two runs in the sixth. Jefferson City then buried the Outlaws with a seven-run, seven-hit seventh.
Against Joplin, the Outlaws wiped out a 4-1 deficit with three runs in the sixth, with Chase Overton’s RBI-single providing the tying run. The Miners retook the lead with a run in the top of the seventh, and the Outlaws answered with an RBI-single from Quentin Bradford.
But in the 11th, Joplin struck for five runs on four hits.
“I thought we had a chance to win that game, but we didn’t get it done,” Gailey said. “I’m proud of these guys because they battled back and never quit. That showed the true character of our team.”
Gailey won’t let the disappointing showing at state overshadow one of the best seasons in Outlaws history. They did, after all, finish 35-20 and won their zone tournament for the first time in their 21-year history.
“They took us farther than we’ve ever been and they can be proud of that,” Gailey said. “It’s quite an accomplishment to be one of the top four teams in the state.”