Four all-star teams from the Parsons Babe Ruth League will travel this week to compete in their respective state tournaments, with a bid to regionals on the line and two teams defending state titles.
The 10-under team, coached by Andy Hopper, will travel to Fort Scott on Thursday for the 10u State Tournament just days removed from its District 5 championship.
Last year, the 10U squad won the state title and traveled to the regional tournament.
“I’m hoping the state tournament is more competitive this year across the board,” Parsons Babe Ruth president John Rexwinkle said. “Last year, a lot of the scores were 20-0, stuff like that. We’re hoping to see better competition. But our expectation is to compete for a state title. If they play well, they have a really good chance of winning.”
The Parsons 10U team will play Wellington at 4 p.m. Thursday, Cottonwood Valley at 2 p.m. Friday and Grant County at 4 p.m. Saturday in pool play before Sunday’s bracket play.
“I feel good with where we’re at,” Hopper said. “We’re playing well at the right time. Our boys have a great mindset. I look forward to us being successful moving forward at state.”
The Parsons 11-under team, coached by Jason Clark, will head east as well to Frontenac to compete in a two-team, best-of-three series state tournament against Frontenac.
“If our kids hustle, throw strikes and field the ball, we’ll win all our games,” Clark said. “At that age, that’s all we have to do. I have no doubt we’re capable of winning. We have a lot of good athletes and some very good kids.”
Game 1 is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Game 2 is slated for 3 p.m. Friday and the winner-take-all Game 3 will be at 9 a.m. Saturday if necessary.
“From hearing around other coaches in the area, we think our 11s can compete with Frontenac,” Rexwinkle said. “Neither team had a benefit of playing a few games in a district tournament. But I think we can go and get two games from them.”
The Parsons 12-under team, head coached by Pat Schibi, will also head to Frontenac for a seven-team state tournament with the top four teams advancing to Sunday’s bracket play.
“Our 12s have as high a ceiling as anyone has had in the last few years,” Rexwinkle said. “They got a tough draw. But if they get out of the pool, they’ll make a lot of noise. Those kids aren’t expecting anything less than a state title.”
The Parsons 12-U group will face Western Kansas on Thursday, Columbus on Friday and Labette County on Saturday in pool play.
“Going in, we’re trying to take it a game at a time,” Pat Schibi said. “We don’t have any clue of who Western Kansas has. Liberal is solid at every age group. Frontenac is the defending state champion. Our main goal is just to take it a game at a time, get to Sunday and let the cards fall how they fall.”
Finally, the Parsons 16-18 team will seek its fourth state title in eight years in Columbus. Headlined by Luke Wolgamott and Noah Chalker and coached by Daniel Schibi, Parsons will open pool play on Thursday.
“Obviously our goal is to defend our state championship,” Daniel Schibi said. “We can’t sneak up on anyone. Last year, we got second in our district and were underestimated at state. That won’t happen this year. We’ve got a lot of people that will know who we are. Overall, we know anything is possible with this group.”
Parsons will face the loser of Liberal-Wellington in its first pool play game on Thursday and then face the winner of that game on Friday. Bracket play will begin on Friday and extend into Saturday.
“They’re competing for their fourth state championship in eight years, which is pretty awesome,” Rexwinkle said. “That group is really exciting. They have no shortage of talent and those kids have played together for a long, long time.”
PARSONS BABE RUTH
Cam Good, Mikey Ramsey, Maddux Johnston, Jay Noble, Cayden Forbes, TJ Robertson, Braden Ball, Jack Rexwinkle, Andrew Houk, Connor Largent, Wyatt Kepley, Blake Robinson, Hayden Wetherell
Mary Jane Ashen, Keyondre Betts, Brycen Dickens, Lucas Fugate, Colton Ghering, Keegan Jump, Sean O’Bannion, Adam Reel, Jason Shaw, Wyatt Shultz, Brogan Ward
Ethan Trucks, Tanner Nolting, J.J. Kendrick, Zander Huff, Daegun Mackey, Mason Morris, Joe Keal, Conner Barcus, Drew Schibi, Kyle Habiger, Peyton Shiflett
Luke Wolgamott, Joel Schibi, Paxton Swanson, Jaden Ponce, Noah Chalker, Gage Woodward, Braven Born, Brenden Doherty, Nolan Proehl, Noah Ryan, Johntae Fields