Smith-Cotton’s annual baseball tournament, now known as the West Central Missouri Classic, will feature an extended field of teams, and a third playing site as well April 3-6.
The tourney field has expanded from 10 teams last spring to 14 this season, including the top-ranked team in Class 5 Rockwood Summit from St. Louis. Also among the new entries in this year’s Classic is Fox High School of Arnold, Mo., (suburb of St. Louis).
“We play every year in the Midwest Classic in St. Charles,” said fourth-year Smith-Cotton Head Baseball Coach Jeff Mays. “They had about 20 teams over there last year. They have all heard of or played at our park and they dream about playing at Crane Stadium (the University of Central Missouri’s home field in Warrensburg).”
Crane Stadium and a new site, Legion Field in Warrensburg will host games in the 14-team, three pool tournament.
The tournament will be played April 3-6 at Liberty Park Stadium in Sedalia and the two facilities in Warrensburg.
There are already plans set in motion to expand the tournament field next year, Mays said.
“We have a waiting list,” he said. “People want to come here and play and at Crane Stadium,” said Mays. “It’s a great recruiting tool for UCM. The Midwest Classic had 20 teams last year and I think we could top that next year. We could get it so big that we would play all week and it could become the biggest high school tournament in the state of Missouri. “
Besides Rockwood Summit, other ranked teams in the preseason poll include Holden in Class 3 and Boonville and Harrisonville in Class 4.
S-C, 6-18 last year, returns almost its entire team.
“We lost a couple of seniors, but for the most part we have almost everyone back from last year,” said Mays. “I would have to say our pitching wil be a strong point. Dalton Christian has looked real strong in practice. We’ve got Taylor Schuber, Ian Dotson, Austin Bullard and Mark McCown back.
Mays said the entire team has had a strong winter in workouts.
“They are all a year older, bigger and stronger,” said Mays. “They remember what happened last year and they are determined not to let that happen again.”
S-C finished 3-7 in the West Central Conference last year.
S-C will face a tough schedule including the Midwest Classic March 25-30 in St. Charles, the West Central Missouri Baseball Classic, Lee’s Summit, district foes Rock Bridge, Hickman and Jefferson City and a new date with a doubleheader in Springfield against Republic and Glendale May 4.
S-C opens up Tuesday (March 19) at home against Camdenton and hosts WCC foe St. Pius X at 5 p.m. Friday.