The Post 45 Junction City Blues competed in the American Legion Single-A State Tournament in Salina over the weekend, losing three close games during pool play.
The Blues opened the tournament with a walk-off 5-4 loss versus Overbrook on Thursday before falling 4-3 to Central-Burton on Friday. The Blues lost 7-5 to the Salina Hawks on Saturday to wrap up their stay in the tournament.
Last weekend marked the first Single-A appearance in the state tournament since the 2000. The Blues end their season with a 16-9 overall record.
The Blues scored an early run in the top of the first but Overbrook responded right back with two in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.
After two scoreless innings, Overbrook added another run in the bottom of the fourth to push their lead to two but Junction City responded in the top of the next inning with a run scored on a fielder’s choice.
Two more scoreless innings passed before Overbrook extended their lead back out to two in the top of the sixth.
Junction City managed to get things tied up in the top of the next inning after a triple by Michael Boganowski and a single from Cooper Bogenhagen.
In the bottom of the inning, three Junction City errors doomed the Blues including an error by left fielder Neil Crowley that allowed the go-ahead and winning run to score.
Crowley got the start and went four innings allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits and three strikeouts. Levi Mehl came in after that and went the final two and a third, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk.
Tate Miller had two hits to lead all Blues players and Crowley had two stolen bases.
Both Central-Burton and the Blues put up a run in the first inning of the game and then, after two scoreless innings, Junction City took a 3-1 lead after a ground out from Logan Nabus and a single from Griffin Bohanan scored runs on consecutive at-bats.
Unfortunately for the Blues, Central-Burton put up three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to grab the lead for themselves.
After a scoreless sixth inning, the Blues found themselves with three outs left to save the game. Gavin Moore walked in the second at-bat of the inning and then two batters later, Miller singled to right field, moving Moore to third while also forcing the Central-Burton starter out of the game after exceeding the 105 pitch count.
Boganowski faced the new pitcher and got up in the count quickly taking three straight balls but three straight swings and misses gave Central-Burton the final out of the game and the win.
Miller got the start and two and two-thirds innings allowing a run on two hits and two walks and a strikeout.
Bohanan came in for the next two innings, allowing three runs on three walks and Lincoln Upham pitched the final inning and a third allowing just a hit with four strikeouts.
Five Blues players recorded a hit in the game.
Salina grabbed an early 1-0 lead and an inning and a half later, Junction City jumped out ahead with two runs off a Crowley single.
Salina jumped right back ahead in the top of the next inning, adding two runs in the top of the third and then two more in the top of the fourth and fifth to push their lead to 5-2.
A balk and a Bogenhagen single scored two and a bases loaded walk several batters later scored another to tie everything back up at five.
Salina scored two more in the top of the next inning and after scoreless bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh innings, the Blues found themselves with the tying runs on base and the go-ahead run at the plate with just one out.
A pick-off and a fly-out ended the inning and game, giving Salina the 7-5 lead.
Logan Lindsley got the start and went four and a third, allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits and three walks with five strikeouts and a home run.
Mehl came in after Lindsley for the final two and two-thirds, allowing two runs on two hits and four walks with a strikeout.
Miller and Bogenhagen each had two hits in the game.