The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Lansing plays host to American Legion Junior tourney

    • email print
  • In Lansing Reds treasurer Marcus Majure's hands Tuesday night at the American Legion Junior Zone 7 tournament in Lansing was a list of names.
    Separated into three categories, Majure was proud as he pointed out the full list of volunteers to work the concession stand, staff the entry gate and work the scoreboard and music. As the organizer of the tournament for Lansing, Majure said he didn't have to look far for volunteers for the four-day tournament.
    "I got folks calling me, knocking my door down to work the scoreboard and the music," Majure said. "The whole thing about American Legion is it's all volunteers."
    With seven zones in Kansas, tournaments like the one in Lansing are being hosted across the state this week, with each zone's winner gaining entry into next week's state tournament in Leavenworth.
    Majure said Lansing has been hosting the zone tournament for the last 10 years. Though it's a lot of work, he said it's worth it to see a well-run tournament each year.
    "Every year we sign up and request to host zone," Majure said. "We take a lot of pride in hosting all these communities and all these families in Lansing."
    After Lansing lost its first game of the tournament to Atchinson, Leavenworth's Junior American Legion team, Geiger Ready-Mix, suffered an 8-3 loss to Doniphan County, a team comprised mostly of 17-year-olds, in contrast to the young Geiger roster mostly fields 14- to 16-year-old players.
    Josh Lucas was on the mound for Geiger, a week after pitching a gem in the team's narrow loss to Leavenworth Senior Legion team, the Legends.
    Lucas pitched five innings, tallying three strikeouts and 11 hits, though head Geiger coach Mike Iannone said Lucas was far from blame for the loss.
    "Our pitcher pitched great," Iannone said. "He got a lot of ground balls, and we just didn't make the plays. We fielded them fine, we just couldn't throw."
    Zone 7 includes Geiger, Lansing, Doniphan County and Atchinson, and the tournament is double-elimination.
    American Legion State Chairman Keith Melick said zone tournaments are helpful to Lansing and Geiger because of the fresh competition.
    "This is where it gets interesting," Melick said. "Neither Lansing nor Leavenworth have seen Doniphan County or Atchinson. ... So it gives a chance for all kids to see different talents across the state. A little travel, a little different scenario for all of them, and (it helps them) to understand what real baseball is all about."
    After a scoreless first inning and a one-run second, Doniphan County blew the game open when it turned in a four-run third inning.
    Getting knocked out of the zone tournament does not end Geiger's season, however. Because of the state tournament being held in Leavenworth at the Sports Field Complex, Geiger receives an automatic bid into the tournament as the host team.
    Page 2 of 2 - Even so, Melick said the host team of the state tournament always wants to play in their respective zone tournament because of the extra experience.
    "Up until last year, the host teams did not have to play in a zone," Melick said. "It's important to keep playing ball. No matter if you win or lose, it's getting out their and playing that keeps you fresh, keeps you in the game and it keeps you ready."
    In addition to the added experience, Majure said the players also appreciate the opportunity to play at Lansing High School's well-kept field and facilities.
    Head Lansing High School baseball coach Mike Williams is in charge of upkeep for the field and Majure said Williams works around the clock to ensure the field is spotless come first pitch.
    As the Geiger game wore on, prices at the concession stand continued to drop as well. After each inning, the loudspeaker would blare with another urging to buy four hot dogs and a can of soda for $5, with each anouncement being met with laughter.
    The friendly, light atmosphere, Majure said, is a reason why teams continue to appreciate the Zone 7 tournament in Lansing.
    "I think that's the reason why so many people love coming back to Lansing because of how they're treated," Majure said. "We get some of the nicest comments from every team that comes and plays on our field because of the volunteers."
    The Zone 7 American Legion tournament continues through Thursday. The American Legion State tournament will begin July 23 at the Sports Field Complex in Leavenworth.
Terms of Service

    Events Calendar