“Keep fighting, keep fighting. Don’t give up here.”
Those words were chanted from the stands toward the Girard 14U All-Stars, after they fell behind 5-1 against the Liberal Rattlers in the Kansas Babe Ruth State Tournament Championship in Frontenac on Monday.
But the Trojans focused on the positives, angled in on the audience encouragement and came back strong, rallying back to capture the 11-8 win and state crown.
“Most of these kids have played baseball long enough that they know that it’s a long game,” said Aaron Coester, the Trojans’ head coach. “Even if you fall behind, keep playing hard good things can happen.”
Wyatt Foley, Alex Coester and Gage Davenport turned the ropes in the fourth inning, scoring runs to tie the score at 6-6.
“I’m proud of our comeback,” Alex said. “It got loud, and I believe the noise got in their heads.”
Luke Niggeman brought home Kaden Harrison to give Girard a 10-6 cushion.
The Rattlers tried to catch up, with Braden Holder and Jesus Solis scoring late, but the Trojans maintained their lead.
“I’ll remember [the moment] we won,” said Gage Davenport. “It’s kind of like being in the World Series.”
Their victory was a part of the three-day tournament hosted at Frontenac Sports Complex. According to Aaron, the team got together in the last month and a half to practice for tournament, but most of the preparation came from their travelling experiences, and time playing as kids.
Frontenac 11U Midwest Regional Champs
Waite park grabbed an early 3-0 lead against the Frontenac 11U All-Stars after the first frame, and built a 6-1 advantage heading into the sixth inning.
However the Raiders roared back in their half of the sixth, scoring five runs to tie the game at 6-6.
The game went to extra innings, where Peyton McDonald was the hero for the Raiders, scoring on a passed ball in the eighth to deliver Frontenac the Midwest Regional 11U Championship.
McDonald was big at the plate throughout for Frontenac, going 5-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Bergen Souder and Jake Capehart also had two hits each for the Raiders.
Aidan Hill earned the win. Starting pitcher Korbin Niegsch struckout four in four innings.
The Frontenac 11u All Stars came into the Midwest Regionals on a roll, defeating district opponents Parsons and Fort Scott by a combined 32-0.
The Raiders found more of a challenge in Breckenridge. Frontenac won by four runs or less in three out of four games, with their 10-4 win over the West Fargo Rattlers as the only exception.