I had the privilege as a Cal Ripken Baseball official of being a part of the just completed Nine Year Old Cal Ripken Kansas State Baseball Tournament of Champions held in Lakin. The tournament featured district champions from the state of Kansas who were vying for a berth in the eight-state 2009 Midwest Plains Regional to be held Haysville.

The Lakin Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken organization did an excellent job of hosting an exciting and fair baseball tournament. Chuck Reinert, tournament director, and the many volunteers who worked with him are to be commended for their outstanding job of putting on a quality tournament! Not only was baseball the spotlight during the four-day tournament, but sportsmanship and team play was promoted throughout. It was evident that all who participated and attended this event had a good time, witnessed some excellent baseball and left Lakin with fond memories. Lakin Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball has hosted numerous district tournaments in the past and now added a couple of state tournaments to their résumé. They did an excellent job of hosting our district champions from across the state of Kansas!

Chuck and his committee went beyond the call of duty to provide a very special event for the youth involved in the state tournament. Each well-attended tournament game was proof that the Lakin Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball organization put on a great event for all.

I heard many complimentary comments directed toward the great baseball hosts, the great baseball facilities as well as the Lakin community as a whole. In addition to the Lakin hospitality, the Garden City Chamber of Commerce made special efforts to help host the many guests that traveled to watch this tournament. A big thanks to them as well.

The city of Lakin can be proud of the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken baseball program in Lakin. Many hours of volunteer work are necessary to provide a quality baseball program for the youth. It is not only an end-of-the-year tournament that makes a quality youth program, but what happens in the planning stages throughout the year and during the league baseball season. It is evident that these volunteers' investments are paying great dividends.

To each of the volunteers and to the city of Lakin, Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball Leagues say thanks.



Unrau is the Kansas assistant state commissioner of the Nine Year Old Division Kansas Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken Baseball Leagues.