Ban Johnson Baseball League in stretch run

07/22/2014 12:59 PM

07/22/2014 12:59 PM

For the first time this summer, Matt Ritchie stood on the mound in the final inning as the starting pitcher.

In his first complete game in this year’s Ban Johnson League summer action, Ritchie held UMB Bank to two runs through the seven-inning game, leading the Milgram Mustangs to a 7-2 victory in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday at the Missouri 3 & 2 Baseball Complex.

The Milgram Mustangs entered the postseason tournament as the No. 2 seed and UMB Bank as No. 7 in the event which began July 17 and will conclude with an upcoming best three-of-five series at the end of July.

On Sunday, the two teams split the doubleheader, with UMB Bank earning a 7-5 victory in the first game as Steven D’Amico, a pitcher at Maple Woods Community College, also threw a complete game.

Ritchie, a senior-to-be at the University of Central Missouri, got some help from his teammates, who scored five runs before Ritchie even stepped on the mound.

“We’ve got a great hitting team,” Ritchie said. “We like to hit either at the very beginning of the game or at the end of the game, but we always find a way to get it done.”

Adam Clay, fifth-year manger of UMB Bank, said it’s been an up-and-down season for his team.

“We had some injuries to our middle infield guys that hurt us, but the guys have just been battling, showing up to the park every day and ready to play,” he said.

The Ban Johnson League, which began in 1927, is comprised of college players from around Kansas City. With 13 teams in the wood bat league, each team plays eight teams twice and four teams three times for a total of 28 games in the regular season that runs from the end of May through July.

Last year’s league champion, Seaboard, entered this year’s postseason tournament as the No. 1 seed after finishing the regular season with a 22-6 record. This season they seek their third league championship in four years.

The Ban-Johnson League’s 46th annual All-Star game will be played at 9 a.m. on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, prior to the Royals-Cleveland Indians game. Last year’s Ban Johson All-Star game ended in a 1-1 tie between the “B” and “J” teams.

Milgram manager Kevin Shaw, who has coached in the league since 1989, said the all-star game at Kauffman Stadium is great for the players.

“A lot of these guys — when they look back at their Ban Johnson career — that’s the highlight, myself included. I don’t remember if we won the game, but I remember what I did. I remember my first hit at Kauffman Stadium. That’s a highlight. This is an experience that they may never get to see again.”

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