By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
The further a team advances, the tougher the competition, and the 12-and-under Cimarron River Rattlers had to battle through the final two teams they faced at the Cal Ripken State Tournament to become the Kansas Champions and advance to the Midwest Regional in Minnesota.
The Rattlers faced a pesky Quivira team Sunday and won 5-2 to advance to the championship against Cottonwood Valley.
The Rattlers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and added two more in the second for a 6-0 lead.
Braxton Hyde pitched the first three innings for the Rattlers, and after two scoreless innings, Cottonwood Valley was finally able to get to the hard-throwing Hyde for three runs in the third.
The Rattlers added another run in the bottom of the third inning to take a 7-3 lead, but Cottonwood Valley added two more in the top of the fourth to slice the Rattler lead to 7-5.
But that’s when the Rattlers opened the floodgate and scored eight runs in the bottom of the fourth two win the game by run-rule, 15-5.
Hunter Carson had four hits in the championship, and Brody Sumner had three.
Hyde and Lee Hunter each had three RBIs.
Carson earned the Wow Award, and Hyde was named the MVP.
The team will travel to Minnesota to participate in the Midwest Regional with a chance to advance to the national tournament on the line.