Legion Zone Three at Ice Field
Game 1: No. 2 seed Olathe South (24-12) vs. No. 3 Blue Valley West Jaguars (11-13), 5:30 p.m.
Game 2: No. 1 Kansas Senators (19-7) vs. Lawrence Raiders (13-22), 8 p.m.
Game 3: Olathe South-BVW Jaguars winner vs. Kansas Senators-Lawrence Raiders winner, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Olathe South-BVW Jaguars loser vs. Kansas Senators-Lawrence Raiders loser, 5 p.m.
Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. winner Game 4, 8 p.m.
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. winner Game 5, 2 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Loser Game 6 (if first loss) vs. winner Game 6, 5 p.m.
For four summers in a row (2003-2006), the Lawrence Raiders were Kansas AAA American Legion baseball champions. They were state runners-up the last two years.
Now the Raiders are the lowest seed in the Legion zone qualifier that will begin today at Ice Field.
It has been a precipitous plunge for the prestigious Legion program that encourages players from both city high schools — as well as Eudora High — to wear the same uniform.
Why the Raiders (13-22) have struggled can be blamed on inexperience, injuries and — most of all — errors.
“Our defense still needs work,” first-year Raiders coach Wilson Kilmer said. “But if we play defense well, I feel confident we’ll do well (in the zone).”
The Raiders will open in the four-team tourney against the top-seeded Kansas Senators (19-7) approximately 8 p.m. at Ice Field.
No. 2 seed Olathe South (24-12) will meet No. 3 Blue Valley West (11-13) in the 5:30 p.m. opener of the double-elimination meet that will send the winner to next week’s Legion AAA state meet in Pittsburg.
Games will continue Friday and Saturday at Ice Field.
The Raiders met all three zone teams during the regular season. They were 1-4 against Olathe South, 1-0 against BV West and 0-1 against the Senators.
That lone meeting with the Senators, sponsored by Topeka Post One, occurred several weeks ago in the Emporia Invitational. The Topekans won, 6-5.
Although the Raiders are nine games under .500, their record is a bit deceptive. Against Legion teams, they’re 8-7. Against select traveling teams, the Raiders are 5-15.