By Bob Willis, State Commissioner Kansas Babe Ruth Leagues, Inc. Task Force Head, Midwest Plains Regional Tournament
As the Kansas Babe Ruth State Commissioner and head of the Midwest Plains Regional task force, I had the distinct honor and privilege of visiting Liberal from July 31 through Aug. 4 and serving on the task force as the city hosted the Babe Ruth 13-year-old Midwest Plains Regional Tournament.
From the time I arrived until the tournament concluded, I was fortunate to experience the great hospitality, community effort and pride of your city.
Eight teams from the central United States participated in the tournament and they, too, got to savor this great experience. Teams checked in on Thursday, July 31, at the Liberal Recreation Center and were pleasantly surprised to receive personalized dog tag IDs, bracelets commemorating the tournament, passes to the batting cages, free swim for them and their families at the Ad-venture Bay Water Park and a gift bag from the tourism bureau.
Another unexpected surprise was that the games would be played on the Brent Gould Field at the Seward County Community College.
All of these courtesies made the tournament a first class community event and created memories for all participants of the tournament that will last their lifetimes.
Trevor Thompson served as Tournament Director and ran a very well-organized and efficient tournament. I can’t stress enough my gratitude for Trevor and the diligence and superior effort he provided to make this a “Tournament to Remember.”
Liberal was awarded the tournament last September and since then, Trevor worked hard to insure that this would be a memorable experience for the players, coaches and the fans. Tournament planners at all levels could take lessons from Trevor on how to make a tournament the best it can be.
The umpires, headed by Rick Potts, did an outstanding job of keeping the games under control and moving in a timely manner, while demonstrating superb skill and professionalism.
With the help and teamwork of the supporting staff, the score-keepers, announcers, concession workers, gate personnel, souvenir vendors, the host Cimarron River Rattlers team and the many fans, this tournament ended up being a huge success and a top-notch community event.
The city of Liberal should be very proud of their achievement as a great host which showcased a fine baseball facility. Players left with memories and newly formed friendships that they will cherish forever. Because of the great efforts of many, this tournament will be remembered as one of the best, and many, including myself, will want to return to Liberal for another helping of your gracious hospitality and civic pride.
Kudos to Cimarron River League President Brandon Hyde and the Cimarron River League board members for bidding on the tournament; William Weber, Liberal Recreation Superintendent for the use of his facility for check-in; City of Liberal for the use of Light Park and Adventure Bay Water Park; Liberal Pancake House for hosting the coaches/officials breakfast on Friday; Seward County Community Col- lege and the coaching staff for the use of Brent Gould Field during the tournament; Eric Olmstead, Liberal High School head baseball coach and the Rattler players who all did an outstanding job of preparing and maintaining the field during the tournament; Earl Watt, president and publisher of the Leader Times, for writing daily updates of the tournament and providing tournament officials and fans with the daily newspaper, and for providing the tournament program; the many volunteers who worked behind the scenes or during the tournament to make it run so efficiently; and the fans for their support throughout the tournament. My apologies for any business or person that was unintentionally omitted.
On behalf of Babe Ruth Midwest Plains Region and Kansas Babe Ruth Baseball Leagues, Inc., I want to extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all involved for a job well-done.
GREAT JOB LIBERAL!