Kevin Shaw could barely wait to get onto the field during his summers playing in the Ban Johnson Baseball League.
Two decades later, not much has changed for Shaw as a manager.
Shaw, who leads the Milgram Mustangs — the league’s defending champion — is entering his 26th season at the helm.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes, but the part I have the most passion for is getting these players to college,” Shaw said.
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The Ban Johnson Baseball League, meanwhile, is entering its 89th season and features 13 teams, including two new squads. The Kansas City Sports Club Blaze and Prodigy Baseball Academy are new additions to the longtime league, which is open to college-aged baseball players from around the Kansas City area.
First baseman Dylan Christie, who graduated from Shawnee Mission South and currently plays for Central Arkansas, anchors a veteran lineup for the Milgram Mustangs. Shaw credits Christie, Andrew Curry and Colton Hilbrenner for Milgram’s consistency and offensive power. Those three players and six others — Cameron Dean, Zac Shaw, RJ Pratt, AJ Salinas, Derek Mann and Dakota Graham — return from last year’s championship team.
Ban Johnson’s regular season consists of 28 games per team and is scheduled to end in late July with an all-star game on July 12 at Kauffman Stadium before the Royals’ game against Toronto. Entering Friday night’s games, The BJ Raiders led the standings with a 7-1 record, a half game ahead of second-place NKC Apartments Giants.
Ban Johnson games will be played at variouis sites, including Mid-America Sports Complex, Missouri 3&2, Macken Park, Liberty High School, Liberty North High School and Johnson County Community College. All 13 teams will compete in the league’s postseason tournament.
For more information, check out the Ban Johnson Baseball Leage’s website at www.bjbaseball.com.