No wonder three recent MHS grads who hadn't been playing with their younger teammates since the MSHSAA Class 3 Championships -- Aaron Skinner, Jordan Pannell and Collin Porter -- made the trip.
The event started Friday with a combine and scrimmage to demonstrate skills, followed by a scrimmage for the Travelers against Lutheran South. The rules required using three pitchers during the game, although Marshall sent five out there during a 4-2, five-inning loss -- which counted toward the final pool rankings.
Pool play got under way Saturday, with the Travelers opening by beating Macon for the fourth time in five meetings, 9-1 in six innings. Pannell allowed only three hits and struck out seven, the Tigers' only run being unearned after Mick Garnett opened the sixth with a double.
Jared Harris doubled home a run for Marshall in the second, a Skinner single plated one of two third-inning tallies and a six-hit fourth produced five runs in the third. Devin Cott led off with a base hit, Darion Lawrence and Caleb Willis doubled, and Tyler Cott, Skinner and Harris followed with singles.
Skinner added a solo homer in the sixth.
The Travelers lost the first of what would be two clashes with NCMC rival Kirksville during Saturday's late game, 5-3.
The Tigers led throughout after scoring two runs on Kolton Magers' double in the top of the first inning. Adam Pennington singled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the second and back-to-back doubles by Wyatt Anderson and Pennington made it 4-0 in the fourth.
Cott doubled and scored on Pannell's single for the first Marshall run in the bottom of the fourth. Willis and Zach Bishop singled to lead off the sixth, one run scoring.
Kirksville added a run with three hits in the seventh, but the Travelers challenged during their final at-bat -- which began with a walk to Trent Toliver. Lawrence and Willis stroked two-out singles, but that only produced one run before the third out ended the contest.
July began with Marshall's toughest competition of the summer: the Hitmen of Southern Boone, an all-star team comprised of top players in the Columbia-Jefferson City axis. The Travelers had met them to open the season, and dropped a doubleheader by a combined 28-3 margin.
Sunday's semifinal clash was along the same lines, a 12-2, five-inning loss for Marshall. That was on par with what the Hitmen did to the rest of the field as they rolled to the title.
Both of the Travelers' runs came on Devin Cott's two-run single in the top of the second, which briefly gave them a lead. However, Konrad Kemper -- a South Callaway junior -- belted a two-run homer to tie it in the bottom of the inning and slugged another shot his next time up to give Southern Boone a 5-2 lead.
Sam Bowles knocked in a pair of runs with a double in the five-run fourth and when the second run crossed in the fifth the game ended on the "10-run rule."
That gave the Travelers a rematch with Kirksville in the third-place game, the Tigers (13-14) jumping out to a 9-1 lead and holding on for a 9-6 victory.
Kirksville got RBI singles from Gunner Western in the first inning and Derrick Conover in the second to build a 4-0 advantage, then put up five runs in the fourth on four hits -- including a double by Zach Playle.
Harris smashed a three-run homer, his third of the season, for Marshall in the sixth and a Lawrence single and two free passes led to three runs in the seventh.
The Travelers will play a pair of home doubleheaders surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, entertaining Boonville on Tuesday and Chillicothe on Thursday.