The Zone tournament came to an end Monday for the Pratt 86ers as they fell in a rematch against Larned. Upon completion of the oft-delayed double-elimination tournament, the Wellington Dukes advanced to the State tournament to be held next week in Pratt.
Even though they were ousted at the Zone tournament, the 86ers will also be a part of the State tournament field by virtue of their hosting the event at Smoky Ford Field beginning Wednesday July 31.
So with Pratt advancing regardless, only Larned was eliminated at the Wellington Zone tournament, as both Wellington and Pratt will advance to State. That fact caused many to wonder why a double-elimination tournament needed to be held at Wellington at all, with all the teams involved being forced to use a lot of pitching without very much really being on the line.
At any rate, in their “elimination” game on Monday, Pratt lost to Larned after having downed them on Sunday. That contest was also delayed by lightning, following the 86ers Sunday late-night two-hour-rain-delay adventure.
The deciding game of the tournament was to pit Larned against Wellington on Monday night, but it was kiboshed by the weather. When the teams finally met Tuesday night—in what was really the only meaningful game of the entire double-elimination tournament, the Dukes prevailed over the Larneds 8-7.
Up early 5-0 and still leading 8-3 in the 7th, the Dukes had to fend off a furious rally by Larned. Larned had the tying run on 3rd when the final out was recorded on a fly ball to left.
The Wellington American Legion Post 90 Dukes will be making their first appearance at the AA state tournament since the Legion baseball program was revived in Wellington in 2010.