City scores win with tournaments
On behalf of the Kansas Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball program, I would like to say thank you to Garden City Recreation Commission, Finney County Convention and Tourism Bureau and Garden City Community College for a job well done. This past weekend, Garden City hosted the 14-year-old State Tournament and the 13-year-old State Tournament. This was two State Tournaments in Garden City for one week.
Ottawa was the State Champion for the 14-year-olds and they told me they have attended six State Tournaments and this was by far the best one! That is pretty impressive from an experienced team! The Ottawa coaches told me the hospitality was great, everyone they met in town was super nice and the tournament ran without a glitch, which was awesome. They said Garden City was pretty fortunate to have such great facilities and hosts.
My hats off to Jared Rutti, John Washington and the rest of the GCRC staff for a job well done. Lynn Schoonover and Roxanne Morgan from Finney County Convention and Tourism did a great job coordinating the host families and the opening picnic. The picnic served more than 600 people on Thursday night. The highlight was all the families that hosted players for the tournament. The tournament could not go on without the help of these wonderful host families. I had many host families thank me for asking them and told me to call them next year. The college played an important role in hosting the field and preparing the field each and every game. Chris Finnegan and Matt Quint worked their tails off prepping the field before every game to make sure it was in tip-top shape for the players.
All in all, it was a great weekend for Garden City! It's like the old Visa commercials' tagline, it was priceless. There were at least four nights of motels booked by the coaches, parents and fans who attended. My best guess is at least 200 rooms were booked. They all had to eat, buy gas and maybe do a little bit of shopping. Again, thanks to everyone involved and hopefully we can entertain some more Babe Ruth or Cal Ripken State or Regional Tournaments in the future. Ultimately, the long-term goal would be to host a World Series at one point. Lamar, Colo., hosted the 12-year-old Cal Ripken World Series a few years back and it was a huge hit! So, if that time comes again, please step up and be ready to help again! We could start with the Midwest Plains Regional for 15-year-olds next year, think about it!
Knight is the 14-year-old assistant state commissioner.