By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Three local teams competed in tournaments over the weekend, and two of them have advanced to today’s championship games.
The 10-and-under Cimarron River Rattlers traveled to Cimarron to play in the Cal Ripken district tournament.
The Rattler 10s started the tournament with a 20-3 win over Grant County Friday.
Saturday, the Rattler 10s knocked off Stevens County 9-2 to advance to the final of the winner’s bracket.
The Rattlers faced a tougher challenge from Lakin Sunday afternoon, but Cimarron River was able to get a 12-8 win and advance to today’s district championship at 6 p.m. in Cimarron.
The 11-and under Rattlers participated in USSSA this summer, and after earning a qualifying bid to the national tournament, traveled to Dallas to face teams from across the South.
The Rattlers struggled for wins but faced some of the best 11-and-under teams in the nation and played some close games.
The Rattlers suffered a 3-1 loss to open the tournament Friday against the South Texas Phillies.
The Rattler 11s then lost to the Houston Strike Force in another competitive game, 6-5.
Saturday, the Rattlers lost to the Greenbriar Arkansas Red Sox in another one-run game, 5-4, and then won their first game at the USSSA national tournament over the Spring Hill Texas Panthers, 7-6.
Sunday, the Rattler 11s against faced the South Texas Phillies, and in another one-run game, Cimarron River lost 2-1.
The Rattlers ended their run at the USSSA World Series with a 9-6 loss to the Arlington Texas Pirates.
Liberal hosted the 12-and-under Cal Ripken District Tournament at Rosel Field, and the hometown team quickly became the team to beat.
The Rattler 12s opened the tournament Friday with a 12-0 win over Grant County.
Saturday, the Rattlers faced Stevens County, and a strong start led to a fast finish. The Rattlers scored four runs in the first inning including a two RBI triple from Cesar Burciaga that landed just inside the foul line behind first base and bounced to the outfield fence. A throw to third missed its target, and Burciaga was able to score.
Stevens County answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning, but the Rattlers continued to pound the ball at the plate, and the Rattlers earned a 22-3 win.
That set up a winners bracket match against the only two undefeated teams left in the tournament — the Rattlers and Scott City.
Again, the Rattler bats could not be silenced, and Cimarron River earned a 22-2 win to advance to today’s championship at 6 p.m. at Rosel Field.