CVL All-Stars third at Ripken regionals

TeamThe 10-and-under Cotton?wood Valley League All-Stars baseball team returned to Marion County from the Cal Ripken Midwest Plains Regional Baseball Tourna?ment in Chadron, Neb., July 24-28, with a third-place finish in a nine-team field.

?They played hard and gritty and won a couple close games,? head coach Jayson Hanschu said of his team.

Tournament play began July 25 with three three-team pools. The CVL All-Stars, representing Kansas as the state champion, joined a pool with teams from Bismarck, N.D., and the Canadian champion.

The six remaining teams were from North Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska and Minnesota.

CVL defeated Canada in the pool opener, 7-6. Matthew Potucek singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

In the second pool matchup, CVL lost to Bis?marck 19-7. Going into the last inning, CVL trailed only 9-7 in a game they had led earlier.

?A bad-hop ground ball off the nose of third baseman Seth Lanning was just one of many plays that didn?t go CVL?s way in an inning where we gave up 10 runs,? Hanschu said.

Lanning had to seek medical treatment for a broken nose after the play, but returned to action the next day.

After pool play, the teams advanced to a single-elimination bracket based on pool-play records.

CVL was seeded seventh as their 12-run loss to Bis?marck hurt them in the tie-breaker rules.

As fate would have it, CVL faced Bismarck, the No. 2 seed, in the first round of bracket play and avenged the earlier loss 5-4. CVL led 5-0 when Bismarck scored four runs in the top half of the fifth inning.

?A big play for CVL was when Bismarck attempted to score a runner from second on a hit to center, but center-fielder Will Alleven hit shortstop Kellen Marshall for the cut, and Marshall then threw a nice one to catcher Jaxxon Hanschu, who applied the quick tag for a big out,? Coach Hanschu said.

After CVL failed to score in the bottom of the fifth, the coaches brought in Lanning to finish the game on the mound. Lanning responded with two scoreless innings to seal the win.

?I was extremely proud of Seth?s composure in that situation,? Coach Hanschu said. ?That extremely nerve-racking win against a team we lost to a day earlier was an emotional high for players, coaches and fans alike.?

With that win, the All-Stars advanced to the semi-finals against Colorado. The All-Stars managed a run in the top of the first, but Colorado shut them out the rest of the way in an 11-1 decision.

?We didn?t give it to Colorado, they earned it,? Hanschu said.

Colorado went on to take second place, losing 10-8 to West Fargo from North Dakota. West Fargo advanced to the Cal Ripken World Series in Winchester, Va.

?Yes, we won district and state and we took third at regionals,? Hanschu said, ?but more importantly, we grew as ball players and as young men from this experience.?

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