Legion ball provided fun for El Dorado baseball this summer

Charles Chaney
cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com
Kedryn Morse for El Dorado fouled off a pitch against the Kansas Curve on Thursday, June 2 at McDonald Stadium in El Dorado, Kansas. The El Dorado Wildcats finished up their summer schedule on Thursday night.

They always say legion baseball takes a special type of player. It is dedicating your summer in high school to a game you love and probably a routine the players have been doing since they were eight years old.

For the El Dorado legion team, who put together a shortened schedule, so they can play the game they love has been refreshing. When their high school seasons were taken away by the love of the game remains and, in some cases, the love for the game has been renewed as their high school season was taken away due to COVID-19.

“It’s great being back out here,” Miles Stringer said as he gazed into right field. “I really don’t want to leave the field right now.”

On March 11 the Kansas State High School Athletic Association (KSHSAA) decided to stop the basketball state tournaments, the writing was on the wall for spring sports. They were left without their season. For some seniors, without closure for their high school careers.

It hurt.

“Having our season taken away like that hurt,” Trip Baker said. “I’m glad we’re able to get back on the field and play with my friends.”

When the Legion World Series was canceled and the season left without a full end result, such as the high school season, it left time for improvement and getting better as athletes.

“To get out here and see this type of ball is good for the guys,” El Dorado head coach Adam McCormick said. “I thought we did some things well this season and the sacrifice the families made so we can play is really what made this work.”

El Dorado was hoping for a solid year at the high school level did admirably throughout the summer. Unfortunately, the final two games of the year, one was going to be a Fourth of July Special at McDonald Stadium was canceled, leaving this to be their final game.

“A lot of the players are three-sport athletes,” McCormick said. “Getting this experience is good for not only El Dorado baseball but the other sports, too.”

Players got better. They saw pitches and saw at bats. They learned and eventually got better as players. They played stiff competition as the Kansas Curve brought out their top level high school team for a double header on Thursday, July 2 at McDonald. While the Wildcats lost both games, being able to and get some actual game play under their belt goes a long way.

Playing with your friends does not hurt, either.

While many social distanced themselves, providing a safe environment around a sport where contact is minimal, they were able to play with their friends and have an enjoyable summer. There are players from El Dorado, Flinthills and Rose Hill all wearing the red and black for the Wildcats this summer.

“We’re all friends,” String said. “This was the most fun I’ve had playing baseball.”

note: The writer was told this was American Legion baseball. The Legion did not pay for any uniforms or any fees.