The Cottonwood Valley League All-Stars won the Cal Ripken baseball District 4 12-and-younger tournament July 7 in Lyons and placed second in the state tournament Monday in Wellington. As state runners-up, they will compete in the Midwest region for a chance to go to the Cal Ripken World Series in Maryland. Team members are, front row (from left): Arlen Sigel, Joseph Knoll, Avery Unruh, Brooks Gardner, Jarred Rahe, Justin Kohlman, Evann Heidebrecht, and Caleb Potucek. Back row: coach Clint Potucek, coach Ryan Kleiner, Wesley Shaw, Hunter Griffin, Kaden Kleiner, Hunter Groh, Jorge Hanschu, and head coach Jayson Hanschu.
12-and-under team qualifies for regional
Cottonwood Valley League All-Stars in the 12-and-younger division have qualified for the Cal Ripken baseball Midwest regional by finishing as state runner-up.
The Hillsboro 12-and-younger team won the league with an undefeated record, then added two players from Marion and three from Chase County to form an all-star team for the postseason. The all-stars won district tournament in Lyons and advanced to the state tournament in Wellington.
The all-stars defeated Derby and Stevens County in pool play before losing to Liberal in the championship bracket. The team defeated Stevens County again in a rain-delayed game that didn’t end until 1:30 a.m. Monday.
They matched up again with Liberal at 9:30 a.m. Monday, needing to defeat Liberal twice for the state championship. Liberal got out to a 10-4 lead before another rain delay struck. With more rain in the forecast, organizers called the game and awarded Liberal the championship, making the all-stars runners-up.
Three players from the team were selected for the all-state team: pitcher, shortstop, and catcher Jorge Hanschu, catcher Evann Heidebrecth, and pitcher Kaden Kleiner.
The all-stars will compete in an eight-team Midwest regional July 26 to 30 in Alliance, Neb. Competition will include teams from Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska. The winner will advance to the Cal Ripken World Series in August in Maryland.