The BJ Raiders and Regal Plastic advanced to the Ban Johnson League championship series after winning their semifinal series last week.
The championship matchup features what were arguably the league’s most consistent teams at the beginning and end of the seven-week summer regular season. The BJ Raiders started with 12 consecutive victories, then endured a five-game losing streak down the stretch of the regular season.
“The guys are always even-keel pretty much every game,” said BJ Raiders manager Jake Bradshaw, whose squad swept Edelman & Thompson in a best two-of-three semifinal series. “Once we got into the playoffs, we tightened things up.”
Regal Plastic, meanwhile, had a 5-11 record on June 27 and won their final six regular-season games to earn the final playoff spot. In the semis, Regal lost the opener to No. 1 seed North Kansas City Apartments Giants, then rallied to win two straight. That gave Regal Plastics eight wins it its last nine games leading up to the best-of-five championship series.
“The real special thing about this team,” said Regal Plastic manager Tom Dailey, “has been watching them learn to believe in themselves, believe in the team, love the game and play the game the right way. The results have taken care of themselves.”
In head-to-head competition this summer, the finalists split – each winning twice – with Regal Plastic winning their last regular season meeting, 13-5 on July 10.
The 90th anniversary championship series began Monday with Regal Plastics taking the first game 10-8. The series continues with games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday if necessary at the Missouri 3&2 Complex.