An all-star team from the Cottonwood Valley League overcame an opening round loss in the opening round of the District 4 Babe Ruth Tournament last weekend and staked their claim on a spot in this weekend's state tournament.
The 15-year-old All-Star team was selected by league winner Canton-Galva and was composed of nine Eagles, two Marion players, one from Hillsboro and one from Peabody.
They opened play against the Mid-Central League, falling 12-6. Nick Bray was the losing pitcher, though his defense gave up several errors in the first inning, which resulted in six unearned runs.
The All-Stars rebounded with a 12-4 win over Abilene in the first game of the loser's bracket. Caleb Sovde and Reed Wiens both had three RBIs in the win. Tanner Klingensmith was the winning pitcher.
Cottonwood Valley then faced Mid-Kansas for the right to advance to the championship game and it was obvious neither team wanted to lose. The All-Stars fell behind 6-0 after two innings before Bray came on in relief of starter Ryan Grant. He proceeded to alow only three runs over five innings with two hits, four strikeouts and one walk.
Cottonwood Valley started clawing back in the third with four runs, then added two more in the fifth to tie the ballgame. Mid-Kansas then scored three in the bottom of the frame, but Cottonwood Valley punched back in the seventh.
Hunter Pearson scored off a Dakota Stimpson double. Cottonwood Valley then scored two more runs to tie the game at 9-9. Klingensmith was subsequently walked, but kept going in an attempt to steal second, getting caught in a rundown in the process. Kyle Rifle was able to score the winning run as the Mid-Kansas defense was distracted with Klingensmith, winning 10-9.
The championship game was a rematch with Mid-Central, during which Cottonwood Valley avenged their in spectacular fashion, winning 18-4. A total of eight players scored at least a run during the decimation, while Bray, Riffle and Caleb Bettles all had two RBIs.
Cottonwood Valley now heads to Cherryvale for the 13-15 year-old State Tournament of Champions. Their first game was to have been at 5 p.m. Friday, but results were unavailable at press time. The tournament will continue through Tuesday.
Contact Chris Swick by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.