Legion welcomes better season
What a difference a month makes.
In mid-May, the Tonganoxie High School baseball team was putting an end to a dismal season, claiming just one win in 19 tries in the spring.
In late June, though, virtually the same players are 9-2, this time playing at the American Legion level. With tournaments, the team's overall record is 11-10, a strong contrast to the spring campaign.
"The boys are playing fantastic ball and they're playing as a team," coach Tim Mayse said. "From high school to now, they're playing as a team."
Tonganoxie almost didn't have a legion team this summer. After fielding two teams last season, there was discussion that some players were planning to play on different teams and there was a demand for coaches.
Although the team's organization got off to a slow start, the team was formed and a schedule was put together. Mike Weyer, whose sons play on the team, was looking for someone to coach. He asked Mayse and the team was ready to go.
Mayse admitted he's not extremely knowledgeable about the game.
"I said I would help coach because I didn't want the boys to go without ball this summer," Mayse said.
Mayse, though, isn't the only coach on the team. Assistant coach Kyle Lux also helps with the legion team.
"He knows a lot about baseball," Mayse said. "He's been a great help to me."
Tonganoxie has also played in two tournaments. The team went 1-4 in each tournament, both in Ottawa. The Summer Blowout, the team's last tourney, was last Saturday and Sunday in Ottawa. Tonganoxie was one win away from qualifying for state at the tournament.
The tourneys include stiffer competition, Mayse said, as opponents generally have 17- and 18-year-olds rather than the 14- through 18-year-olds on his team.
Opponents also include teams from larger cities such as Topeka and Fort Scott.
The team's busy schedule doesn't allow for practice Tonganoxie plays two or three games per week.
The team hopes to get into the Leavenworth tournament at season's end. Tonganoxie has always participated in it before, but the late scheduling could be a factor.
Tonganoxie has eight regular season games remaining six of those are home games. The team takes on the Bonner Springs Hammers at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday at the Tonganoxie Recreation Commission baseball complex. Tonganoxie then heads to Ottawa to take on its Legion team at Ottawa University at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.