HARPER — It was a year to remember for the Pittsburg 10-and-under all-star baseball team, as a long journey of postseason baseball wrapped up with a near flawless run in the state tournament.
Despite starting the district tournament on the wrong foot, the Pittsburg all-stars got hot at the right time and went undefeated after round one en route to a 12-2 win over Liberal in the Cal Ripken state title game.
“I can’t say enough about this group of boys,” Pittsburg head coach Kyle Burgess said. “We just had a well-rounded team and they all did a great job. Offensively and defensively, everyone played a part.”
A first-round loss to Frontenac in districts put the Pittsburg all-stars at a disadvantage in the early going of the double-elimination tournament, but five consecutive wins fittingly pitted them in a rematch against Frontenac in the championship round.
Needing back-to-back wins to be crowned champs, the Pittsburg all-stars forced a second game with a 14-4 victory and came through for an 11-10 win in a thrilling, championship game.
“After a loss in the first game of districts against our friends in Frontenac, the boys realized this was not going to be a cakewalk,” Burgess said. “A spark was lit that night, and they outscored opponents 18-10 in the next six games before going into a battle against Frontenac.”
Pittsburg continued its success in the state tournament with three consecutive wins, defeating Laken 16-0, CLV 12-2 and Wellington 9-1.
With two wins standing between them and the state championship, the Pittsburg all-stars squared off in another rematch with Frontenac and came up with a 13-3 victory before beating Liberal 12-2.
“They carried that fire with them all the way to Harper for the Cal Ripken state tournament and they picked up right where left off in districts,” Burgess said. “They won the next four games and beat a super solid team from Liberal.”
MVP winners from the state tournament include Conner Proffitt, Jett Burgess, Michael Westhoff and Cole Neiderklein.
WOW award winners in the state tournament consisted of Hayden Patterson, Jaden Wetzell, Noah Duncan, Nate Mitchell and Carson Nickelson.
— Jordan Buckamneer is the sports editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @jbuckamneer.