Bob’s Baseball Tours, LLC sponsored an 11U baseball team who competed in the Sioux Falls Summer Shutdown Tournament July 30-31. The event consisted of eight teams from Minnesota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The boys, all from rural Minnesota, defeated two South Dakota All-Star teams and another “A” team from its urban community as they finished the weekend 4-0 to claim the tournament championship.
The weekend began with a three game pool play format and the rural Minnesota boys defeated the Brookings “A” team 6-5 in game one. Brooks Baune started on the mound and threw three scoreless innings. After leading the team to a 6-0 lead, he was relieved of pitching duties.
After Brookings scored five unanswered runs to close the gap to 6-5, he was brought back in to throw a scoreless sixth to preserve the opening victory.
The final pool play game Saturday saw small town Minnesota defeat Sioux Falls Coast 2 Coast 12-2. Drew Kemp started on the mound and was relieved after the boys took a big lead early and never looked back.
The highlight was a Brooks Baune titanic home run to left-center field that had everyone in the dugout celebrating their way onto the field. It symbolized the weekend in every player pulling for everyone else in their quest for team success.
Thanks to an impressive offensive performance early in game two Saturday, Kemp was able to start on the mound again for the final pool play game Sunday morning. He tossed 5-innings of dominant baseball in a 6-2 victory over a tough team from Tea, South Dakota (and surrounding Sioux Falls area).
The 3-0 pool play performance allowed the boys a shot at the championship versus an All-Star team from Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Luke Kaupang pitched a strong four innings to earn the win. Timely hitting led by Kemp, Adam Braulick, and Brady Baune helped the team to an early lead they would not relinquish. The game was a tight 6-5 affair by the time Brooks Baune entered to earn the save in the bottom of the sixth inning to cement the championship.
Brittany Allex summarized the weekend by saying, “I felt the weekend was so much more than just baseball. I didn’t see one boy get down on themselves and not have someone else lift them up.”
As a parent of one of the players, Luke Kaupang, I agree with that statement wholeheartedly. Luke had a good weekend but one play in right field was bad. An easy fly ball was missed and he came into the bench after the inning with tears in his eyes. That’s not a ball he drops.
My favorite moment was driving back to our hotel Saturday evening. It had been a successful day and I asked him what his favorite part had been. He told me Drew Kemp came up and sat beside him on the bench and told him it was okay and offered words of encouragement that took his tears away and got him focused back on the game.
Allex continued, “A couple of those games could have gone either way and I really believe it was the boys’ ability to motivate each other and cheer for each other that brought them to victory.”
“It was so much fun making new friends, coming together as a team and coming out on top,” commented Drew Kemp, who finished the weekend with a stellar 2-0 record on the mound.
Adam Braulick’s Dad, Dan, said, “For me what stands out is how well the boys played together and very quickly became a team.” Drew’s Dad, Joe, echoed what many parents felt, “It was just a blast to see these kids genuinely pulling for each other at every turn.”
Levi Arredondo is already looking towards fall and winter sports just to see the rest of the team again. His Mom added, “Levi can’t wait for football and basketball season just because he’s looking forward to running into the boys from other towns.”
Coach Nate Baune’s wife, Jeni, concluded, “The friendships they built, knowledge gained, lessons learned and memories will stay with them forever!”
The 10-player team consisted of:
C/P Drew Kemp – Wabasso
2B Jaxon Saenz – Sleepy Eye
P/C Brooks Baune – Wabasso
OF/P Luke Kaupang – Redwood Falls
CF Adam Braulick – Stark
3B Vance Vanden Einde – Le Sueuer
SS Andrew Burns – Wabasso
1B Brady Baune – Wabasso
3B/OF Jack Balko – Redwood Falls
OF Levi Arredondo – Wabasso