With another season in the books, Leavenworth’s youth baseball organization, the Junior Pioneers, are looking toward next season with upcoming tryouts.
Leavenworth High School baseball coach Justin Bode runs the Junior Pioneers organization that had eight teams compete during the last season. The teams competed in various age groups ranging from 8-under to 14-under leagues and in different skill levels.
With a mix of results from each team and many tournament successes, Bode said he was impressed with the improvement the kids made throughout the season.
“I am incredibly proud of all of these teams,” Bode said. “The strides they took and their growth from day one to the end of the season cannot be measured by a record or tournament placings. Each team stepped out of their respective comfort zones by seeking out the best competition.”
The 8-under team, coached by Nathan Troyer finished the season 7-14 and placed third at the Slugfest Tournament (Double-A).
Bode said the entire team was playing a full 8-under schedule despite being qualified to play 7-under.
Kasey Robinson’s 9-under team competed in the first division at the 3 & 2 Complex and went 4-11.
The second 9-under team coached by Guy Nieman played the majority of its Triple-A Major level and finished the season four games over .500 competing across various levels of 9-under and 10-under.
The team won the CIS Line Drive Select Super NIT in Des Moines, Iowa, the Sunflower State tournament in Topeka and the Sports America Smack the Ball in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Coaches Kevin Gray and Joe Allison led one of the 11-under teams to a 29-19 overall record with tournament wins at the Sunflower Shootout, MSP Monster Bash and MSP Swing for the Rings. They also made the final four at the 11-under Kansas State Tournament.
The second 11-under team, coached by Frank Giamalva, is 17-19. They went 14-10-1 against USSSA Triple-A teams and 2-8 against the highest competition in USSSA, Triple-A Major.
The 12-under Pioneers went 10-20 and finished fourth in the WyCo league. The team threw three no-hitters during the season, two combined and one complete game.
Trey Johnson and Landon Bouma were selected to represent the Junior Pioneers at the Mo-Kan All-Star Game.
Justin Eagle’s 13-under team finished the season 18-18 after beginning in Single-A before elevating to Double-A.
Coaches Bo Jones and Brian Ramey’s 14-under team played to a 28-12 overall record with first-place finishes at the Dakota Sunflower Shootout, KC Sports Fall State Classic Championships, 3 & 2’s Spring Fling and the Jimmy John’s Fathers Day Classic.
“I would like to thank the coaches for all of the time they have committed to these teams,” Bode said. “This program cannot run without the dedication of these individuals who volunteer their time to teach the game of baseball to the youth in our community.”
The organization hosted its skills camps Friday evening and Saturday morning in anticipation of upcoming tryouts for next season.
Tryouts are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Monday at KCKCC Pioneer Career Center fields. The fields are located at 1901 Spruce St.