Legion, Monarchs set for Wild West Fest
Published on -7/5/2012, 10:23 AM
By KLINT SPILLER
Hays Senior Legion baseball coach Brad Kelly's expectations don't change much from game to game. He expects to win games, and so far, the Hays Eagles have fulfilled his expectations.
The Eagles are 29-4 -- Hays Legion record-setting pace -- and have won 19 of their past 20, so when it comes to the upcoming Wild West Fest Tournament in Hays, he expects the same.
"(The focus is) the same as it has been all year, just win," Kelly said. "We'll do whatever it takes to compete at the plate and compete on the mound, whatever we are doing."
The tournament will be played at three crosstown venues -- Larks Park, Hays High's Indian Field and TMP Field.
The Eagles are in Pool A with the Topeka Capitols, Rock Creek, Colby and Seward, Neb.
The only team the Eagles have faced this year is Topeka, and Hays won 7-1 on June 3 at the Manhattan Tournament of Champions.
The Eagles will play their first game at 11:15 a.m. Friday against Colby at Indian Field, and they will play the nightcap at 8:15 p.m. at Indian Field as well against Seward, Neb.
On Saturday, the Eagles will play the Topeka Capitols at 3:45 p.m. at Indian Field and Rock Creek at 8:15 p.m. at Larks Park.
The top two teams from each pool will enter bracket play Sunday afternoon, but every team in the tournament will play at least one game Sunday with the non-qualifying seeds playing their respective seed from the other pool.
Catcher Jarrett Sanders, who was a freshman at Fort Hays State University this school year, is in his fifth year with the Hays Senior Legion and described himself as "the veteran" of the group, but even he hadn't seen success quite like what the Eagles have produced this summer.
Sanders said he wasn't sure what was different between this team and past teams, but said this team is more laid back and relaxed. However, that also might be because the team is winning.
"I think we are just playing as a team right now," Sanders said. "We are doing everything just to win."
The Eagles have won the past two Wild West Tournaments in 2009 and 2011. There wasn't a tournament in 2010.
So far, all of the Eagles' losses have come in tournament play, losing twice in Manhattan, once at North Platte, Neb., and once in Omaha, Neb.
However, all of their losses were close games and all were solid tournament outings, and Kelly expects a similar one this weekend.
"These guys do a good job," Kelly said.
"They show up. They are loose, and they are relaxed. But when we take the field, we seem like we are ready to go. I think we'll have a good tournament."
Monarchs to enter first tournament of year
This weekend's Wild West Tournament could provide valuable experience for the Hays Monarchs.
Because of work schedules and other obligations, the Monarchs haven't played any tournaments this year, so this could help prepare them for the zone and state tournaments.
"It is a different format where we have to use a lot of pitching, and we don't have a lot of pitchers, so that kind of hurts us," Monarchs coach Dustin Schumacher said. "It'll be good prep for state."
The Monarchs are in Pool B with the Kansas Crush, Great Bend, North Platte, Neb., and Fort Morgan, Colo.
The only team the Monarchs have seen this year is Great Bend, and they split the doubleheader with Great Bend at TMP Field.
"We are looking forward to seeing some different teams, because in the spring season and the summer season, it seems like we play the same people over and over," Schumacher said. "So it's nice to get out an see some different pitching."
The Monarchs (9-6) start the tournament at 9 a.m. Friday at TMP Field against Great Bend.
The Monarchs will play again at 1:30 p.m. at Indian Field against North Platte, Neb.
On Saturday, the Monarchs will play the Kansas Crush at 3:45 p.m. at Larks Park and Fort Morgan, Colo., at 8:15 p.m. at Indian Field.
After struggling earlier in the year with slumping bats and pitching, the Monarchs got onto a roll in late June, winning five straight, but the Monarchs lost the second game of their doubleheader to Beloit and fell to the Eagles 10-2 on Tuesday.
However, the team corrected itself after falling behind early and played much better in the second half of the game against the Eagles. Schumacher said he expects that to continue into the tournament.
"We had some positive things happen in the last half of the game," Schumacher said. "Hopefully, we take those away from that. We'll get it figured out."