I had the privilege, as Kansas State Cal Ripken Baseball Commissioner, of being a part of the just completed 9 and Under Cal Ripken State Tournament of Champions in Garden City. The tournament featured Cal Ripken district baseball championship teams from across the state of Kansas. Six teams in the nine-year-old division of Cal Ripken Baseball were vying for the state championship and to qualify to represent Kansas in the Midwest Plains regional to be held in North Platte, Neb., later this month.

The tournament committee under the direction of Jared Rutti did an excellent job of conducting an exciting and fair tournament. Jared and his assistant, Lacey, are to be commended for their commitment to making this one of the best state tournaments. Not only was baseball a spotlight during the five-day event, but sportsmanship and team play were promoted throughout. It was evident that all who participated and attended this event had a good time, witnessed some excellent baseball and left Garden City with fond memories.

All aspects of the tournament went without a glitch. Everything from the team check-in, picnic, team activities, to each and every tournament game, was professionally run. Because of the great atmosphere the competing teams showed great respect to the hosts, umpires and tournament officials.

The city of Garden City can be proud of their Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken baseball programs. The Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken program in Garden City has great adult leadership and it makes for a strong program and success on and off the field. Putting on a youth tournament such as the one I just experienced, as well as running a fair and complete baseball program, takes time and effort. It is evident that investments are being made in the youth of your community and they are paying great dividends.

Thanks Garden City, for a great event. Kansas Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken thanks each and every one that helped to make this state tournament a memorable baseball experience.