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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Leavenworth to host regional baseball tournament

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  • The American Legion Junior Midwestern Regional baseball tournament will take place at Sports Field Complex in late July, with seven state championship baseball teams set to participage.
    Geiger Ready-Mix, a local American Legion team, received an automatic bid to the tournament as host.
    Keith Melick, state American Legion chairman and local American Legion co-chairman, said the tournament is likely to bring a total of 1,500 people to Sports Field Complex during the four-day tournament.
    Metro Sports will broadcast all games.
    Eight states have registered for the tournament with each state's respective championship team. The winner earns a bid to the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C., later this summer. If Geiger Ready-Mix wins the Kansas state tournament, July 23-27, then the second-place team will also receive a bid to the regional.
    Melick said Leavenworth's role as host will be helpful for local baseball as well as the community.
    "I think it's going to be a great boost for our baseball program and our community," Melick said. "The hotels are going to be busy. We've got some activities for the players from other states to see the scenery of Leavenworth. So, it's not just about baseball, it's also learning about our community."
    The tournament not only brings numbers to the community, but also baseball talent from across the Midwest, and scouts.
    Last year, Melick said 23 different college scouts showed up to the regional tournament and this year he expects more of the same. He has been notified by scouts from multiple Division I and II schools, including UCLA, South Dakota State and Missouri, that they will be representing their schools at the tournament.
    The Junior Midwestern Regional tournament has been played every year since 1933, but this is the first year Leavenworth will host.
    Eight years ago, Kansas was named home state for the tournament, but Melick said he didn't present a case for Leavenworth as host.
    "We weren't ready to host something that big," Melick said. "It really took the city's rebuilding the complex that helped bring this whole thing in."
    Mike Iannone, Geiger Ready-Mix head coach, said his team is excited to receive an automatic bid, but would prefer to earn its way by winning the state tournament the week before.
    He said playing the tournament in the team's own backyard presents multiple advantages for Geiger.
    "I think it always helps when you have your own support system in place," Iannone said. "Travel makes a big difference as well. The home team is always at an advantage and that's never going to go away."
    The tournament is set to begin at 1 p.m. July 31.

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