(Photo by Josh Mills, Staff)
SIKESTON -- The Midwest Plains Regional Tournament will get underway this morning at VFW Stadium in Sikeston with Kansas taking on Missouri (SE Missouri) at 10:30 a.m. The teams all got acquainted with each other on Thursday evening as they had a barbecue at the SEMO Shriners building just beyond the left field fence of the ballpark. The barbecue was a time for coaches to interact as well as a time for the players to meet their host families.
Following the meal, teams made their way to the field where they took place in a skills competition. Rod Anderson said that this was something that they've taken part in at other tournaments and he thought it would be fun for the team to put on for their visitors.
"It's a chance for the kids to show their skills," said Anderson. "This is a lot of fun, especially when you get the parents involved on the field with the kids."
The event started with a speed competition as players in teams of two from each respective team rounded the bases while being timed. Each of the two runners had to make a lap around the bases, touching each base to qualify for an official time.
The next event featured four parents from each team participating in the same event, however, the parents were located on an individual base and had to pass off a baseball cleanly in order to proceed to the next base. The players of the Colorado team gave their winning parents a jubilant celebration after speeding around the base-paths with the quickest time.
Following the race, four members from each squad headed to a base to test how quickly they could throw it 'around-the-horn.' The players had a chance to show off their skills of how quickly they could catch and release the ball toward their teammate.
Wrapping up the night, players headed to the outfield for an accuracy contest where they had to hit a target on a screen set-up in the infield.
Anderson and the rest of the Sikeston coaching staff said that the event was a lot of fun for the visiting teams which came in from six different states other than Missouri. Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and North Dakota families each made their way to town for the tournament. Beginning today, the players will have a chance to test their skills against each other on the diamond for the right to be named Midwest Plains Regional Champions.