The Chanute Blues club baseball team made their first tournament appearance of the season last weekend in the “Swing for the Cure” tournament.
The tournament, co-sponsored by USSSA and MSP baseball, was held at the Mid America Sports Complex in Shawnee.
“Swing for the Cure” was started four years ago to benefit cancer research, with all net proceeds of the tournament going to the KU Cancer Research Center.
The Blues, playing in the 14-year-old age division, were scheduled for an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, but drizzle and rain plagued the tournament start, and the Blues weren’t able to begin play until 6 p.m. that evening.
Cold temperatures and a wet field did not stop the Blues in their first game of the night. Xtreme Baseball of St. Joseph, Mo., and the Blues exchanged the lead five times. Starting pitcher Lane Harvey took to the mound and in three innings allowed only three hits, one walk, and one run. Harvey’s defensive efforts in the final innings of the matchup helped hold the Xtreme to three runs.
In the fifth inning, a RBI single by Cooper McMillan brought the Blues within striking range.
Then, a late push by the Blues led by a RBI double by Devon Walker and RBI single by Corbett Kimberlin gave the Blues their 4-3 game winning lead.
Devon Walker earned the game MVP for starting off the Blues’ final push in the fifth inning.
Up against Kansas City’s RA Sluggers in Game two, the Blues came out ready, with 10 runs in the first three innings. In this game, Mason Manbeck and Michael Aylward teamed up for four hits and five RBIs, but it was Hunter Walker that came home with the game MVP for his solid pitching at the end of the 10-2 run contest. Exiting the park Saturday evening, the ball park entrance pavilion was lined with luminaries remembering the players’ family members who had been affected by cancer.
On Sunday, the No. 2 seeded Blues began bracket play. A noon start saw the Blues facing the Midwest Blacksox of Lenexa. Kimberlin held the Blacksox scoreless for six innings, striking out seven, allowing no walks, and only three hits. Scoreless until the third inning, the Blues took a 1-0 lead with a single from Kimberlin. Another run in the sixth tied up the game, taking the game into a seventh inning.
In the seventh, the Blues won the contest on a RBI single by Brycen Ellis with a final score of 4-3.
In the semi-final matchup, the Blues once again saw the St. Jo Xtreme baseball club. Kimberlin went 2-for-4, drove in one, and scored two runs, with a single in the first inning, and a triple in the seventh. A two-run double by the Xtreme in the fifth inning, and another two runs in the sixth put the pressure on the Blues, however, Ellis answered with a seventh inning single, bringing Kimberlin across the plate, and giving the Blues a 5-4 win.
The Blues faced the Cougars of Shawnee in the Championship game Sunday afternoon. Following a ceremony where a lavender baseball was used for the “first pitch” to symbolize the fight against cancer, the game began. A two-run triple by Kimberlin got the Blues going. Later, with two outs on the board, a fourth-inning 11-run burst of RBI singles by Cade Addis, Aylward, Alex Krumm, Ellis and Kimberlin, and two-run singles by D. Walker and Addis gave the Blues their game winning lead. Addis racked up five RBI’s on four hits for the Blues, giving the Blues a championship winning score of 19-4 over the Cougars.