WAITE PARK, Minn. -- It wasn't quite as dominating as last year, but the Sikeston 11-year-old all-star team still left Minnesota as the Midwest Regional champions for the second straight year.
Last year, as 10-year-olds, the team swept through the tournament without even allowing a run on their way to the Cal Ripken World Series.
This year, the group had to fight through the loser's bracket to win the title. Despite the victory, there is not a World Series for the 11-year-old age group.
"It was a little bit tougher this year," said Sikeston coach Rod Anderson. "Probably last year nobody knew who we were and we probably didn't see everybody's best pitcher. It's a little bit tougher the second time around."
Sikeston started things off with a convincing 17-0 victory against the Nebraska state champions.
But the team was sent to the loser's bracket with a 3-0 loss to the host team, Waite Park.
"After we got beat, we really wanted to let them that we're not going to blow through this like we did last year," said Anderson. "We were the top dog and everybody was going to shoot for us."
After that, the team seemed to be on a mission, ripping off three straight 10-
run rule victories against Fargo, N.D. (11-0), the South Dakota champions (12-2) and the Minnesota champions (11-1).
Sikeston then had to defeat Waite Park twice to win the regional.
After winning the first game 6-1, Sikeston managed to hold on in the title game by the score of 2-1.
"We knew that going in that there wasn't going to be a World Series and that's kind of disappointing," said Anderson. "After coming through the loser's bracket and we had to beat Waite Park, I told the boys at that time, 'this is our World Series this year. This is as far as we can go and I want you all to leave everything out there on the field.' The boys really came through."
This particular group of players has won three straight district championships, two state championships and two regional championships.
They finished this year's playoff run, district through regional, with a 10-1 record with Waite Park being the only team to give the team a close game.