Night of Champions set for Thursday at American Legion

By Steve Sell
August 27, 2014

Wednesday’s ramblings...

• NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY — McPherson American Legion Post 24 will be celebrating 60 years of championship baseball Thursday night.

It’s being billed as the “Night of Champions,” as Legion state championship teams of 1954, 1975 and 2014 will be honored. Some of the players from both the 1954 and 1975 teams are expected to be in attendance along with the 2014 team, which will be receiving its championship patches during the evening.

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and all friends and supporters of the program are invited to attend. The meal is being served by the Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary will be providing the dessert.

Following the meal, at approximately 7:00, a program will be presented that includes the introduction of the teams, remarks by 1975 coach Vance Carlson and 2014 coach Tony Schmidt and other festivities.

McPherson’s 2014 team won the Class A title last month by roaring back through the loser’s bracket as it had to defeat Andover in back-to-back games. It went on to play in the regional in Leavenworth, which also was the state site. That team will be the heartbeat of this year’s McPherson High baseball team.

The 1975 team defeated Hutchinson to win its championship. The team went on to play in the national tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Tim Hennig was the leading hitter that summer with a .414 average, while other top hitters were Kevin Kaufman (.330), Marc Ramsdale (.320) and Ladell Thomason (.311). Thomason (10-4) and Ramsdale (10-5) highlighted the pitching staff.

The 1954 team defeated Emporia to win its state championship. Four players were named to the All-Tournament Team, including Francis Peterson, Jim Holwerda, Ronnie Seeger and Gene Elliott. The team went on to play in the sectionals in Altus, Oklahoma.

This should be a fun night of reminiscing and I encourage all Legion baseball supporters to attend.

• GORDON SAVES ROYALS — Often when I play golf, I’ll make a shot that I call a “round saver.” For some reason when I save a hole, I believe it will turn my day around. More often than not, that’s the case.

In the Kansas City Royals’ case Tuesday night, Alex Gordon’s dramatic walk-off home run could be considered a “season saver.”

The Royals appeared to be dead in the water against Minnesota. For eight innings, they hopelessly flailed away at the plate and my thought was at the time that they could play 20 innings and not score a run. They were that inept at the plate and staring at a third straight loss, which would have opened a Pandora’s Box of possibilities.

But Alcides Escobar duck-snorted a single and Gordon hit Glenn Perkins’ second offering over the wall for an improbable 2-1 victory.

Too bad not many people saw it. Here the Royals are in first place, in their first legitimate pennant chase in seemingly forever and just 13,847 were in the stands — probably half of that by the time the ninth inning rolled around.

Kansas City fans have been clamoring for a winner.  The Royals have worked hard to put a quality product on the field and just 13,847 show up? Kansas City fans need to take a page from their in-state brethren, St. Louis. There are, of course, no better fans in baseball. A bad crowd by Cardinal standards is 35,000.

• CHIEFS WRAP UP THURSDAY — The Kansas City Chiefs wrap up their preseason schedule Thursday at Green Bay, but it really won’t be the Chiefs.

That’s because second-year coach Andy Reid has indicated he’s going to play his backups and journeymen who are making a bid for the final roster spots.

The preseason hasn’t exactly provided fuel for optimism. The Chiefs have been, in a word, abysmal. They seemingly have gotten worse as the exhibition season has gone along with their weaknesses maybe too glaring to mask.

The offensive line is a mess. The secondary can’t go more than three plays without a penalty. The Chiefs already know they’re going to be without No. 1 receiver Dwayne Bowe and starting tackle Donald Stephenson for being knuckleheads, as they are suspended for the first game for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

For a team that made such a turnaround last year, going from 2-14 to the playoffs, they may revert to their 2012 form this season.