Last year’s superstition for the Sedalia Travelers was a honey jar that was placed on top of the dugout during games and this year’s group has found different ways to get motivated.
The phrase ‘cowboy up’ has been used by the players when they need to pick up their game, so Dom Zerilli showed up to the Sedalia-Warrensburg Tournament title game on June 21 with some new head gear.
“When things are going tough we’ve just got to cowboy up, so I figured we’ve got to get a cowboy hat,” Zerilli said.
The Travelers won the title game 7-4 in eight innings, so the hat may make more appearances.
“I guess since we won we kind of have to bring it now don’t we?” Zerilli said.
But the cowboy hat wasn’t the first good luck charm to burst onto the scene this season. The American flag is usually displayed above the team’s dugout as well.
“Just the fact that we are part of the American Legion program, so we just feel like it was appropriate to have it,” said Travelers outfielder and pitcher Roberto Ramirez.
However, the flag was not present during the Travelers’ game on June 20 against Kirksville and they lost 5-1.
The flag made its return during the afternoon game against Parkville, which ended up being an 18-9 win for Sedalia.
“As soon as we brought it, that’s when we started hitting again,” Ramirez said.
The Travelers were short-handed for most of the tournament, only having nine players available at one point.
But they had their good luck charms and made it to the title game anyway. Several players were able to return to the team for the final game.
“We’ve played a lot of games with just nine guys and we are just cowboying up and just keep going,” Zerilli said. “I think we missed having the team together. We’ve been playing in the sandlot for years. It’s just nice to have the family back.”
The Travelers are made up of players from six schools, but this group has proved to be a tight-knit one. They are upbeat and talkative in the dugout during games, no matter what the score and the antics like the cowboy hat have only brought this team closer together.
“They just support one another, they like each other and they are just a good group that likes to have fun,” said Travelers coach Jeff Mays. “That makes it easy to coach.”
“I love these guys like they are my brothers,” Zerilli said. “I love them all. Even the Lakeland guys, the Clinton guys, everyone. Concordia, I love them all like they are my brothers. It’s what we are, just a big group of brothers playing baseball, doing what we love.”