The local summer college baseball Ban Johnson League is in the midst of a historic season.
When teams took the field May 31, it marked the beginning of the league’s 90th year.
Founded in 1927, the league features 10 teams of area college players under the age of 23 that play on five different fields around the Kansas City area.
The league has produced Major League Baseball players such as Frank White, Rick Sutcliffe and David Cone and holds its annual All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.
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This year’s all-star game will be the morning of July 24, before the 1:15 p.m. game between the Royals and Texas Rangers.
Natural Baseball Academy of Olathe is the defending champion and it entered this week atop the league standings. The team features St. Thomas Aquinas graduate Jack Pauley, a power hitter from Western Nebraska Community College who has seven home runs, 27 RBIs and an OPS of 1.226.
Jake Slocum, a native of Independence who played at O’Hara High School and Avila University, is one of the league’s top pitchers. Throwing for Regal Plastic, Slocum has an ERA of 0.74 with 33 strikeouts.
Former Kansas City Royals pitcher Jaime Bluma manages the KC Sports Club Blaze, and Cone sponsors the BJ Raiders. The MSBL Royals, MidAmeriCare Nationals, Milgram Mustangs, NKC Apartments Giants, Seaboard and UMB Bank are the league’s remaining six teams.
The teams will complete their 27-game schedules in the upcoming weeks before a season-ending tournament determines the league champion in late July.
Other local players of note in the league this summer include: KSCS first baseman Daniel Reilly (Blue Valley Northwest and Washburn), UMB Bank infielder Shane Boyer (Olathe Northwest and Park), Seabord infielder Mitchell Rogers (Blue Valley and Johnson County), Milgram first baseman Dylan Christie (Shawnee Mission South and William Jewell) and BJ Raiders infielder Tanner Foerschler (Harrisonville and William Jewell).
The league plays its games at Mid-America Sports Complex in Shawnee, 3&2 Complex in Kansas City, Macken Park in North Kansas City, Liberty High School and Liberty North High School.