KELSO -- Kelso will host its first ever Midwest Plains Regional as teams from Missouri, Kansas and Colorado will kick off the nine-and-under Cal Ripken Regional Tournament starting Thursday.
"It's going to be a good one," Scott County Rippers coach Danny Dumey said. "We have a lot of local talent right here at home (taking part)."
Of the eight teams taking part in the tournament, four will from Missouri including Sikeston, Scott County, SEMO North and Mineral Area.
Making up the rest of the double-elimination tournament is two teams from both Kansas and Colorado.
All three of the teams representing Southeast will start play Thursday against out of state squads with SEMO North, with players from the Chaffee area, kicking the tournament off playing Fort Scott, Kan., at noon.
Sikeston will play Centennial Blue, Colo., at 4 p.m. while Scott County will close out the opening round playing Emporia, Kan., at 7 p.m.
Continuing all weekend things will come to a close Sunday with the championship game being played at noon.
After his team finished second to Mineral Area in the state championship with the two squads splitting a pair of games in the tournament, Dumey said he likes his team's chances at making a strong run in the tournament.
"We have solid pitching," he said. "We have three guys that can go. Our hitting, we can knock the runs in. We're the Rippers and they lived up to that name."
While obviously proud of his own team, Dumey went on to say the best teams and players he's seen this season are from his and other Southeast Missouri teams. The Rippers have split with Sikeston and were able to stave off SEMO North in extra innings.
"We've traveled the country side and I'm telling you the best talent is right here in Southeast Missouri," he said. "There's a lot of good players here. Sikeston is coming up here with one of the best pitchers in the state. That's their strength.
"Semo North, them guys just get in there and battle. Their bats are pretty strong. You can get up on them six or seven runs and they'll just come right back. They just will not go away. They're pretty strong at the plate."
Messages left to Sikeston's coach were not immediately returned.