Summer baseball continues for Columbia Post 202.
Post 202 faces Chillicothe Post 25 at 5:30 p.m. today in the first round of the Zone I American Legion Baseball Tournament at Moberly High. It is a four-team, double-elimination tournament.
Coach Jim Dapkus said scoring early is necessary because it takes pressure off the pitchers and the defense. In addition, Dapkus said the team needs to keep winning.
He said the key is to stay in the winners’ bracket to limit the number of games.
“We know a little about the teams we will play, but we haven’t seen any of them,’’ Dapkus said.
“But, the same thing with them. They haven’t seen us. So, it’s just going to really come down to who plays the best Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”
If it wins today, Post 202 (24-9) will play the St. Charles 312-Kirksville BB winner Friday at 5:30 p.m. If Post 202 loses, it will go to the losers’ bracket and play at 1 p.m.
This year, Dapkus has more options because every player has stayed on the team. Two years ago when the team advanced to the Zone Tournament, some players left the team for family vacation and other personal reasons.
“We really went there minus about four guys,” Dapkus said. “We got to the point two years ago where we were really close to running out of the pitching.
“But, this year, everybody is ready to go.”
The 2002 team advanced to the semifinals but lost to St. Peters in a 10-inning game. Scott Dunwoody, who experienced the loss, said the team is poised for a better result. Jacob Kemper and Joseph Montgomery also played for the 2002 team.
“I think we have a lot stronger lineup this year,” Dunwoody said. “We don’t have as much pitching as we did two years ago, but at the same time, we have a few guys stepping up.”
Dunwoody, who has signed to play for Missouri, said the team has had better luck in games this year. Post 202 advanced to the tournament July 22 when it earned a 9-8 victory against Jefferson City Post 5 in the final of the District 8 Championships in Jefferson City.
In the semifinal July 21, Post 202 also edged Post 5. In its 8-7 win, Post 202 scored the winning run on a balk in the bottom of the ninth inning.
If Post 202 earns the Zone Tournament title, it will compete in state championship that starts Aug. 5 in Sedalia.