Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Having a first-round bye and winning our first game of the tournament was enough to get us to compete on Sunday and earn a spot to compete in the eight-team REC State Tournament held in Hutchinson on July 30-31.
Kimball first lost to Sauk Rapids, 8-10, then defeated Winsted in extra innings, 16-13. Their third game of the day Saturday was a win against Willmar, 21-7.
Sunday morning, Kimball defeated Waconia, 12-11 in extra innings. In a second Sunday game, Kimball won against Winsted, 7-2. Their third game brought another win, 12-4 against Baxter. Their fourth game of the day, in that oppressive heat, resulted in a 3-11 loss to Hutchinson and a second-place win in the state tournament.
Staff photos by
Kimball finished their season in the Crow River League with a record of 16-4 which earned them the second place seed in the State Qualifying tournament in Buffalo on July 23-24. The state qualifier determines which teams from the Crow River League advance to the State Tournament. There were 13 teams competing to qualify for the state berth.
Kimball played three games in the state qualifier beating Loretto 7-3, losing to the Hutch Hawks 7-9, who eventually won the tournament, and losing in a hard fought extra innings game to Winsted by a score of 7-8. Having a first round bye and winning our first game of the tournament was enough to get us to compete on Sunday and earn a spot to compete in the 8 team REC State Tournament held in Hutchinson on July 30-31.
Kimball opened the tournament playing Sauk Rapids and came up short at the end of the game losing 8-10. Losing that game sent our team to the loser's bracket to start the long battle back to the top. We next played Winsted to try to avenge the extra inning loss from the weekend before. This game took a similar route and was sent to extra innings again. Kimball put up 6 runs in their half of the first extra inning and the defense and pitching did their job to win the game with a score of 16-13. Kimball played their final game under the lights on Saturday against a developing Willmar team and won 21-7.
Coming back on early Sunday morning Kimball went to battle against Waconia. At the end of time limit, Kimball found themselves with a tie score of 9-9 and went to extra innings. Waconia opened their half of the inning and scored 2 runs. Kimball answered with 3 runs in the bottom of the inning and ended the game with a 12-11 victory. With a peculiar bracket set up, we again met Winsted. This time we took the lead and never looked back and won the game 7-2. This victory sent us to our 3rd game of the day in the semi-finals vs. Baxter. We opened up the game and our bats came out hitting the ball. Our team played great defense and had consistent pitching and won the game 12-4. This victory and hard work brought us back to the championship game! We found ourselves playing the Hutch Eagles and entering the 4th game of the day in the heat seem to take a toll on our team. While we played hard and gave good effort, we came up short in the end and lost 3-11 and took home 2nd place in the State tournament! While the 2nd place state tournament finish is something to be proud of, I feel that the effort and perseverance throughout this tournament is even more of an accomplishment and needs to be recognized! This team never gave up and with the weather and heat conditions I heard very few complaints! This is an amazing group of young athletes with a lot of heart and desire to compete, improve, and learn every step of the way! Congratulations Team!
In addition to playing league this team competed in 3 tournaments: Kimball, Becker, and Bemidji. In the tournaments, we faced some very good teams and had to up our level of play to compete at this level. In comparison to other 14u teams, our Kimball team is at the very young end of the spectrum. These players have grown with their skills, mind set, and overall game awareness. Our team finished the season with an overall record of 29-17.
Thank you to the parents and players of this team in making it an overall wonderful experience coaching these athletes: Denzel Atherton, Becky Holtz, Tina Kastanek, Shay Krippner, Tashi Kunkel, Ariel Laabs, Lauren Libbesmeier, Madison Libbesmeier, Hedy Robben, Amanda Roerick, Madison Schreifels, Taylor Schreiner, Kaitlyn Truenow, Montana Tschida.
Staff photos by Marguerite Laabs.