Tight race for top spot in league

He's Safe - John Lorano, UMB outfielder, slides into second base safely as Zac Shaw, Milgram shortstop, applies the tag June 16 at 3&2 Stadium in Kansas City, MO.
He’s Safe – John Lorano, UMB outfielder slides into second base safely as Zac Shaw, Milgram Mustangs shortstop applies the tag June 16 at 3&2 Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The race for the regular season championship is tight and exciting with a number of teams vying for the regular season title.

Here is a look at three of the top teams heading into  the last week in June.

Second-year BJ Raiders manager Jake Bradshaw is happy with his team at this point in the season.

“Our team success is because of our starting pitching and timely hitting,” he said.

He pointed out that Zach Hutcherson had a couple of great starts.

“One of them went 6.2 innings of no hits,” Bradshaw said.  “Tyler Funk has had great starts as well. Tyler Burrow is our go to guy when in need. He has started and come out of the pen.”

Looking at the non-pitchers, he said that infielder Tanner Foerschler leads the way at the plate and in the field playing a number of positions.

“Also stepping up for us have been Carson Pickard and Zach Mahoney,” he said.

He is pleased with his club.

“I have a great group of guys and they play well as a team and enjoy coming to the ball park and having fun every night.”

Natural Baseball Academy won the championship last year and the club is doing well again in 2016 for third-year manager Brian Knippelmeyer.

“We have a group of young men that understand how a team works,” he said. “And that has been the key to our success. We have also had outstanding pitching and timely hitting up to this point.”

He pointed to pitchers Brandon Martinkus, Jonathan Felix, Jared Henderson, Cole Newell, Keller Agre, Austyn Gooch and Kyle Francis.  And position players outfielders Jack Pauley, Jonny Hodges and Nathan Vossman, infielders Avery Jennings and Chase Robinson and catcher Josh Scribner.

He said an unsung hero of the team is outfielder Derek Johnson.

“He does all the little things you want in a baseball player,” the manager said. “He just goes about his business and competes.”

He added that his team understands that no player is more important than any other on the team.

“We have played our team members as equally as possible in playing time so far and everyone has contributed to what we have accomplished up to this point.”

Will Meier is in his fifth season managing Seaboard and the veteran manager isn’t one to single out players.

“Solid pitching with great offensive support has been a key to our success,” he said. “We have a good mix of guys who have played for us over the last couple of seasons. They know what it takes to be successful.”

And he added about his new players, “Our new players have stepped up and matched that level of production.”

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