The Junction City 16U Blues are going to state.
After wins over McPherson and Salina at the Zone tournament in Clay Center on Saturday and Sunday, the Blues punched their ticket for the A American Legion Kansas state tournament in Salina.
The Blues will still play a championship game Monday evening at 6 p.m. but since the top two teams advance to state from each zone, the Blues head in to their matchup with the relief of knowing that their trip to Salina is booked.
Results of that game were too late to make deadline of this week’s print edition but will be published online and in next week’s print edition.
The Blues opened the Zone tournament with a 12-9 come-from-behind win over McPherson Saturday afternoon.
Both teams opened things up with a run in the first but McPherson pulled ahead soon after with a run in the second and three in the third. A McPherson run in the top of the fourth put the Blues behind 6-1 but a steady comeback from Junction City started with a two runs in the bottom the fourth to get within three.
The Blues held McPherson to their first scoreless inning of the game in the top of the fifth and then exploded for six runs in the bottom of the inning to take three-run advantage.
McPherson was not done though, and scored three more in the top of the sixth to tie things up at nine.
Three straight walks to open the bottom of the sixth inning led to the three winning Blues runs scoring on a Aiden Field single and a dropped third strike.
Logan Lindsley shut the door firmly with three straight outs in the top of the seventh with a strikeout and two groundouts, clinching the Blues opening zone win.
Neil Crowley and Field each had two hits in the game and Cooper Bogenhagen and Michael Boganowski both reach base on multiple walks with three and two respectively.
Five different Blues pitchers got action in the win starting with Levi Mehl who started and went 2.1 innings with five runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk with a strikeouts.
Crowley came in and ate up two more innings, allowing a run on four walks. Lincoln Upham went two-thirds of an inning and allowed a run on three hits and Lindsley cleared out the final frame allowing no runs and no hits with a strikeout.
Crowley had three steals in the game followed by two from Boganowski.
There was much less drama in their semifinal matchup with the Salina Eagles as the Blues soared to a 10-0, six-inning win on the backs of three stellar pitching performances.
The Blues grabbed an early run in the first and stretched their lead to four with three in bottom of the third but six runs in the bottom of the sixth clinched the run-rule win for Junction City.
After shutting down the previous game, Lindsley got the start versus Salina and went four innings, allowing six hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
Amin Strickland and Griffin Bohanan each went an inning, both allowing no hits and a strikeout. Bohanan did give up a walk in his outing.
Field led the way with three hits followed by two for Lindsley and two for Logan Nabus.
Ty Raulston had two steals.