Ottawa Legion baseball tryouts set for Sunday

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa American Legion baseball program has a vast history. Several area baseball players throughout the past nine decades have been part of the program.

The 2021 season is here. Tryouts are 2 p.m. Sunday. Players planning to attend the tryout must register at www.ottawaamericanlegionbaseball.com. There will be two teams this season. There will be an open practice 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Ottawa Arrows AAA American Legion baseball team opens its summer schedule Tuesday in Topeka and plays at home Thursday against Emporia. First baseman Ryan Laurie stretches for the ball in attempt to get an out during the 2020 baseball season.

Ottawa’s American Legion baseball program started in the mid-1930s.  There were little restrictions on who could play and young men from all around the state who were working during the summer on the farms in the area played for Ottawa. World War II interrupted the continuity in the program.

In 1946, and every year thereafter to today, Ottawa’s Warren C. Black Post No. 60 has sponsored American Legion baseball.  All throughout the years, Ottawa has had a successful, winning program. 

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ottawa competed in the Tri-District League, made up of teams from Manhattan, Junction City, Topeka (3 teams), Lawrence, Emporia, and Kansas City (3 teams). Ottawa won the Tri-District League multiple times competing against teams much larger than ourselves and qualifying for state tournaments frequently.

Ottawa has won seven state championships. Of those, four state championships were at the AA level (1994, 2001, 2002, and 2009) and three at the AAA level (2015, 2016, 2017).

In 2001, a wooden bat tournament began and became an annual event for the teams. In 2005, the tournament was renamed for a former coach and supporter and remains the Jim Allen Memorial Wood Bat Tournament.  The tournament is hosted the first weekend following the high school state tournament each year.

This year’s tournament is set for June 5-6 at Orlis Cox. The featured local team will be the Ottawa A’s.

Here are the schedules for the Arrows and A’s:  

Ottawa Arrows

June 1 at Kansas Senators, 6-8 p.m.

June 3 Emporia,  6-8 p.m.

June 4-6 Topeka Tournament

June 4 Iola, 6 p.m.

June 5 Hays 10 a.m.

June 6 Blue Springs Elks, 10 a.m.

June 8 at Iola, 6-8 p.m.

June 10 Pittsburg, 6-8 p.m.

June 11-13 Sam Ellis Classic, Emporia

June 11 Emporia, 7 p.m.

June 12 Scrappers, 2:30 p.m.

June 13 TBD

June 15 at Pittsburg, 6-8 p.m.

June 17 at Newton, 5-7 p.m.

June 18-19 Emporia Triangular, TBA

June 20 Iola, 10 a.m.-noon

June 22 Kansas Senators, 6-8 pm.

June 29 Oak Park Owls, 6-8 p.m.

July 1-3 Hays Tournament, TBA

July 6 Leavenworth (9-inn), 6:30 p.m.

July 7-10 Fike Tournament

July 7 Post 331 South, 1:30 p.m.

July 8 SMCI, 12:30 p.m.

July 8 Post 313, 5:30 p.m.

July 9 Like, 5:30 p.m.

July 10 TBD

July 13 at Leavenworth (9-inn), 6:30 p.m.

July 16-23 Zone

July 28-31 State

Ottawa A’s

June 1 Overbrook, 6-8 p.m.

June 3 Oak Park, 6-8 p.m.

June 5-6 Jim Allen Tournament

June 5 Overbrook, 10 a.m.

June 5 Hays, 8 p.m.

June 6 TBA

June 9 at Garnett, 6-8 p.m.

June 10 Topeka, 6-8 p.m.

June 15 Iola, 6-8 p.m.

June 18 Garnett, 6-8 p.m.

June 22 at Topeka, 6-8 p.m.

June 23 at Overbrook, 6-8 p.m.

June 24 at Iola, 6-8 p.m.

June 27 at Oak Park, 2-4 p.m.

June 29 Salina, 6-8 p.m.

July 1 at Salina, 6-8 p.m.

July 9-11 Oak Park Round Robin, TBA

July 16-23 Zone

July 28-31State