March 12, 2022
By Fred Liggett
The Lee’s Summit Tigers baseball team in 2022 will play games at the new Tigers Athletic Complex on the campus of East Trails Middle School. The school, located at 1001 Bailey Road, will open up its doors for the 2022-23 school year but before then the field will see many games played on its site due to the Tigers baseball program.
Thanks to a lot of thought and planning the first game played on the field will be an alumni game. Head coach Jim Mellody said this is due to, “All the years they never had a place.” The events surrounding the alumni game began back in June 2020 when one of Mellody’s tweets “blew up.” So many people were interested that coach and alums going back as far as the class of ‘94 met at Johnny’s Tavern to discuss plans for the opening weekend. Over 50 alums are expected to attend a dinner and the game set for Friday, Mar. 18 at 6 p.m. Mellody is expecting all the former coaches of the program to appear including Mike Roberts the very first coach in program history.
More events are planned for Saturday, Mar. 19 starting with an opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Part of the ceremony will include honoring the 1972 final four team and the 2020 team who never got to have a season due to the pandemic. That will be followed by the words “Play Ball” as the Tigers take the field for an 11 a.m. game. Odessa and Springfield Catholic are the opponents on this momentous day.
On having their own field to play on Coach Mellody says “just happy for these kids” where before “always having to get off the bus.” Now with what Mellody calls “the premier high school baseball facility in the Kansas City metro, other teams will say I wish we had a place like this.” With all the excitement for a new venue the baseball program has seen an increase in players coming out this year. Due to a 10% increase in players Coach Mellody has added an extra sub varsity team, a fourth team for this season.
Lee’s Summit Activities and Athletic Director Tracy Bertoncin commented, “We are very excited about the complex because it offers the opportunity for the players to have a home of their own, at last.” Bertoncin adds, “Right now we are very busy putting lots of finishing touches around the stadium.”
Now entering his 18th season as the leader of the Tigers baseball program Coach Mellody extends an invite to all alumni to come out and say hello and to take a look around at the new facility. Thanks to the efforts of many program supporters, alumni, current staff and players the weekend of March 18-19 will be remembered for a long time as new history is written at the new home of Lee’s Summit Tigers baseball.