The Thursday night American Legion State Tournament game was a tough pill to swallow for the Leavenworth Geiger Cardinals against the Hays Eagles. 

In a warm July night at Sportsfield Park, the Hays Eagles won 23-0. The Eagles jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the second batter and never looked back. With the ball falling in just the right spot and costly errors by the Cardinals the Eagles enjoyed a successful first inning up 14-0.

The growing pains that the Cardinals have dealt with all season continued in their second game of the tournament. While the team improved each inning, the hole from the first inning was too much for the Cardinals and the game was called after three innings.

Despite the loss, coach Bruce Simpson still had a positive outlook overall. 

“I’m still feeling great,” coach Bruce Simpson said. “We’ve gained a lot of experience. The boys are much stronger and the morale is good. The boys are already talking about coming back next year.” 

The positivity has been there all season for the team, despite the tough losses.

Simpson hopes to keep as much of the team together as he can as the boys get older. 

Despite the tough first inning, Simpson said the players were all supportive of each other in the dugout.

“The morale was great,” Simpson said. “They all are supportive of each other and would pat each other on the back. There was no blaming either. The personality of the team is really good.”

The loss put the Cardinals at 0-2 for the tournament. They will play in the third and final game of pool play against the Augusta Orioles Friday night. The game will start at 6 p.m. at Sportsfield Park. 

The team already had a team party last weekend but Simpson hopes to get the team together as much as he can during the off-season with workouts before the next American Legion season starts. 

Simpson also encourages anyone who is considering Legion ball to come out.

Despite the struggles the team had, the future is looking bright for the young boys. With other coaches reaching out to Bruce about starting more Legion teams, the town could see more summer ball in the near future.