The Jefferson City Post 5 Juniors are vying for a state championship this weekend.
The Post 5 Juniors will be one of four teams competing in the Missouri American Legion AA State Tournament, which begins today at Ronsick Field in Washington.
Jefferson City opens the tournament against Eureka Post 177 at 4 p.m., while host Washington Post 218 will take on the Lathrop Post 467 Mules at 6:30 p.m.
The Post 5 Juniors (14-5-2) advanced to the state tournament as the Zone 1 champions, winning a best 2-of-3 series against Washington (18-4).
Jefferson City's opponent, Eureka Post 177 (28-4), won the Zone 4 Tournament on Sunday at Ste. Genevieve, going 4-0 in the tournament and outscoring opponents 37-6.
Lathop (record unavailable) won the Zone 2 Tournament to advance to state.
Eureka is on a 10-game winning streak, with its last loss coming June 16, a 2-1 defeat to Washington.
Jefferson City and Eureka previously played each other May 31 in the Washington Junior Memorial Weekend Tournament. Post 177 won 11-3 against Post 5 in the championship game.
Post 5 enters the state tournament having won six of its last eight games.
Jefferson City had three starting pitchers go at least six innings during the Zone Tournament against Washington. Lane Wilson struck out six batters in six innings in a complete-game effort in Game 1, while Nate Roark had seven strikeouts in six innings in Game 2. Max Buscher — who struck out four in two innings against Chillicothe, in a rain-delayed game that was not completed — had eight strikeouts in six innings in the deciding Zone game Sunday at Loose Creek, a 6-4 victory.
Hunter Berendzen pitched the seventh inning in both Games 2 and 3 to earn a pair of saves, striking out four batters.
Luke Cavender led the Post 5 offense in the Zone Tournament, going 5-for-13 with three RBI and a double, while Roark, Berendzen and Buscher each had four hits. Roark had a team-high four RBI in the tournament.
The winner of today's game between Jefferson City and Eureka will advance in the winner's bracket and play at 3 p.m. Friday. The loser will play in an elimination game at 5:30 p.m.
The tournament championship game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with the "if necessary" game slated for Sunday and a game time still to be determined.
The Jefferson City Post 5 Seniors will also be in Washington this weekend, but they will be taking part in the Missouri AAA Zone 1 Tournament.
The Post 5 Seniors (14-3) will play Hannibal Post 55 at 3 p.m. today, while NEMO Post 6 and Washington Post 218 will play the other first-round game at 5:30 p.m. Both games will be played at St. Francis Borgia High School.
The remaining Zone Tournament games will be play at Ronsick Field.
Jefferson City is representing District 8, while Hannibal (15-6-1) won the District 9 Tournament on Sunday, winning the "if necessary" game 7-3 against Rhineland Post 147.
Hannibal went 4-1 in the district tournament, outscoring opponents 30-21. Three of those games were against Rhineland.
NEMO Post 6 (23-6) won both games against Trenton by a combined score of 26-2 to claim the District 2 championship.
Washington Post 218 (17-11) finished in third place in the District 9 Tournament but qualified for the Zone Tournament with the host bid.
The winner of the Jefferson City-Hannibal game advances to play in the winner's bracket at 10 a.m. Friday. The loser will play an elimination game at 12:30 p.m.
The tournament championship game is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with the "if necessary" game to take play Sunday at a time to be determined.
The tournament champion will advance to the Missouri American Legion AAA State Tournament, which will take place at Liberty Park in Sedalia.