This summer, the Jefferson City Post 5 Seniors won the Sedalia Tournament.

They won the Southwestern Illinois Wood Bat Tournament. And on Thursday, they won the district tournament with a 13-4 win over Fulton in New Bloomfield.

That's what winners do. Win.

"We are so fortunate to have the quality of coaches we have in the Mid-Missouri area," Post 5 manager Denny Hughes said. "They have them ready to play at a high level, so there's not a lot we have to talk about.

"The big thing for us is that we're bringing kids together from six different schools and bringing terminology together in how we do things. You have to make sure we're all on the same page."

They are.

Post 5 will carry a lofty mark of 26-7 into next week's zone tournament in Washington. That's a winning percentage of .788.

More importantly, however, these guys are winners off the field.

"You talk to your kids all the time and tell them that no matter what you do, people are watching," Hughes said. "That's a lesson in itself. When you leave the field, that doesn't mean you quit representing your team, yourself and your family.

"There can be some young men, at 17, 18, 19, when you spend three straight nights at a hotel and you have a lot of down time, things can happen. But I never have to worry about these guys."

Need an example of good guys doing the right thing? Sure.

"We're in a place to eat (in Blue Springs) and we all had our uniforms on," Hughes said. "There was a grandmother, a grandfather and their two young grandchildren.

"The grandmother told us that the little guy, who was about 4 1/2 years old, was just mesmerized by our kids. They thought we were a professional group coming in.

"So the grandmother suggested to her grandson that he go say hi to us, but he was too scared to. So she brought him over and talked to some of our guys and they were just great and sincere with him. That little guy just thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

"Of course, as a baseball coach does, I had a box full of baseballs in the back of my car. So I went out, got a baseball and our guys signed it and gave it to him. She just thought that was the neatest thing, that these guys would take time out from their eating to do that for a little boy they didn't even know."

The grandmother was so touched, she sent a letter to the National American Legion office in Indianapolis.

It said:

"I don't know if this is the correct place to communicate what I would like to or not, but I leave my comments here and hopefully they will get to the right place in the end.

Tonight, we took our grandkids to Pizza Street in Blue Springs, MO. My grandson is 4 1/2 years old. He was totally infatuated when the Jeff City Post 5 team came in to eat. He wanted to go talk to them really bad, but was scared. In my mind, I believe he thought they were like super heroes, I went over to a table of boys and asked if he could say hi to them. They agreed and were really super, super sweet to him. Then they gave him a baseball. You would have thought my grandson was in heaven. My husband gave him a pen and my little guy asked them to sign the ball. They all, very graciously, signed it and gave it to him. They also were so very sweet to pose for a picture with him.

It is truly heart warming to see these young men being so polite and nice to a little boy. They went out of their way to make him smile. Melted my heart and I would like to tell the world what a great team these group of kids are.

Your organization should be very proud to be represented by this group of boys."

"That was really neat that this lady took the time to compliment these kids on what they did," Hughes said. "And as little as it seemed to us, it meant so much to that little kid.

"Like I said before, no matter what you're doing, there are people watching and observing. So make sure that you make the right choices."

These young men should not go nameless. They are (including their high school): Deion Hughes, Cole Distler, Trevor Schnieders and Levi Rose (Helias); Michael Washington, Connor Arcobasso, Connor Hager and Payton Logan (Jefferson City); Adam Bax and Tanner Kemna (Blair Oaks); Nolan Bax, Seth Lehman, Patrick Schnieders, Nevan Woehr and Brady Weber (Fatima); Ryan Loethen (St. Elizabeth); and Dyllan Harper (Southern Boone).

"I've been very blessed to be around some great groups of kids when I've coached," said Hughes, the former Helias coach who now coaches at Westminster. "If this isn't the best group, it's one of the best.

"They come from some great family upbringings and some schools that reinforce that. Kids nowadays get some pretty bad raps and some of it's deserved.

"But there are still a lot of great ones out there."

They're called winners.