WARRENSBURG — The American Legion Post 131 team is showcasing a new look on the diamond this summer with a new coach, a young roster and a new uniform.
The Isotopes dropped a pair of games to two Inside Edge squads losing 11-1 in five innings on Friday, June 7, and 15-0 in three innings on Saturday, June 8.
In the first contest, Inside Edge opened the game with 10 unanswered runs, scoring three in the first, four in the second, two in the third and a run in the fourth. Post 131 got a run back on an RBI single, but gave up a run in the fifth to end the contest.
Things went sideways on Saturday as a different Inside Edge squad put up 12 runs in the first inning, leading to the 15-0 final tally.
Former assistant coach Matt Payne has taken over as the head coach of the Isotopes, flipping roles with Scott Dye, who remains on the staff.
“The reality is we have to start somewhere and you have to have some talent to be competitive, but you don’t have to go out and spend thousands of dollars to play baseball,” Payne said. “I am optimistic that people are going to come back to the legion program.”
Post 131 is going through a rebuilding effort. Seven of the 18 members on the senior legion roster will also play for the junior legion squad this summer.
American Legion baseball is broken up into age brackets with players older than 17, but younger than 20 play on the senior legion team and players from 13 to 17 can play on either the junior or senior legion team.
“There is some bright spots going into the future if we can just get these kids to stay in it and not lose interest,” Payne said.
Part of the new look Isotopes includes a new uniform. Post 131 went away from its maroon uniforms to a new jersey with a red stripe showcasing Post 131 on a background of baby blue, reminiscent of the Chicago White Sox uniforms in the early 1980’s.
The new ensemble includes a new red hat with a “W” and an American Legion patch on the back.
“I think it means something to play for the American Legion,” Payne said. “I think there is some pride that should be had, but we have to do a better job and play better baseball,” Payne said.
Post 131 will host Rod’s A’s for a doubleheader at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, at Hidden Valley Park.