Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Team of True Champions

The East Central 11U All Star baseball team consisted of four Burlington players: Ty Marcum, Hunter Tracy, Michael Gutierrez and Ian Mantey; two Stratton players: Clay Robinson and Braden Wedel; three Hugo players: Wyatt Miller, Colby Simmons and Tyler Higgins; five Limon players:  Chance Cannon, Trey Hines, Ashton Parmer, Ky Bandy and Brady Rockwell; and three coaches:  Rocky Rockwell, Mike Hines and Tom Marcum. This team finished third at the state tournament in Las Animas, Colo., defeating Southern Plains 15-1, before losing to eventual state champion SE Denver 16-2, and second place Lamar 6-4.

All three teams qualified for the regional tournament held in Lamar, Colo. this past weekend.  Rounding out the eight teams in the regional tournament were Boonville and Carthage, Mo; Alliance, Neb.; West Fargo, N.D.; and Cimarron River, Kan. East Central opened the regional tournament with a heartbreaking loss to Carthage, Mo. 8-7.  In their second game, East Central competed well but lost to Lamar 4-1.  Entering their final game of pool play, East Central dominated every phase of the game to defeat Alliance, Nebraska 22-9.

Lamar finished pool play 3-0, while Alliance, Carthage, and East Central were all 1-2 and tied for second place.  East Central won the 2nd place tiebreaker which was the fewest runs given up during their three pool play games; thus advancing to the regional final four.  Amazingly, all three Colorado teams advanced to the final four along with two-time defending regional champion, West Fargo, N.D.  East Central matched up with North Dakota and gave them their toughest game of the entire tournament, losing 15-11.  Lamar defeated SE Denver 3-2 to advance to the regional championship against West Fargo.  In the third place game, East Central defeated SE Denver 15-11 in seven innings, defeating the Colorado State Champions for the first time in the past two years of All Stars.

West Fargo defeated Lamar 9-0 to win their third consecutive regional championship.  East Central flexed their offensive muscles in the final four, scoring 26 runs in their two games against some of the best competition in the regional tournament.  Over those final 13 innings that East Central played in the final four, they scored a run or more in every inning except two.  As the East Central All Stars were receiving their 3rd place medals, they were then presented with the Norm & Colleen Travis Midwest Plains Sportsmanship Award banner.  This award is very special as it honors the memory of the late Colleen Travis and the 30-plus years of service that Norm Travis has given to Babe Ruth Baseball and Softball.

Thank you to all of our East Central players, coaches, fans and supporters who represented our league and communities with class.  We are so proud, honored, and thankful to receive this great sportsmanship award!

Great job to all of our East Central All Stars on a truly remarkable performance this summer in the tourney trail.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to coach each of you because of your passion, love and team-first attitudes that you play the game of baseball with!
Coach Rocky Rockwell

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