The Gardner Next Level Blazers recently played in the state championship and following a weekend full of sun, rain heat and cold, they walked away with the title of 11u State Champions. FRONT ROW: Brayden Fouts, Koy Randel, Nathan Cochran, Parker Choate BACK ROW: Cody Davis, Cody Warmke, Austin Buie, Kollin Gretencord, Eli Jensen, Mitch Mauk, Liam Strahan NOT PICTURED: Elson Blanding COACHES: Robert Davis, Ryan Gretencord, Derik Fouts, Caleb Blanding. Submitted photo


Posting a perfect 5-0 record, the Next Level Blazers 11 and under baseball team brought back a USSSA Class A State title last week.
In the championship game, at 3&2 Stadium, Mitch Mauk was the winning pitcher. He pitched five innings and got solid relief from Brayden Fouts and Austin Buie. Cody Davis had three hits in a close 10-9 win over the Lenexa Ravens.
“It was a season of ups and downs, but the kids never gave up and definitely earned the state title,” said Coach Robert Davis. “They played as a team and all the coaches are proud of their efforts.”
The Blazer’s trek to the title included wins over the Gardner Barons (11-3), the Overland Park Ambush (15-4), Lansing Reds (12-4), Overland Park Scouts (9-6) and the Lenexa Ravens (10-9) in the final game.
All told, the Blazers had 61 hits in the six game state tournament and outscored their opponents 66-26.
The Blazers prepped for the tournament with a tough Blue Valley Gold league schedule and seven competitive area tournaments.
“The league and tournament schedule definitely got us ready for state play,” added Davis.
Davis said the team had a 20-20-2 overall record and had two second place tournament finishes and one third place finish. Currently the team is ranked number four in the USSSA national rankings out of 412 qualifying teams.
Playing for the state champion Blazers were Brayden Fouts, Koy Randel, Nathan Cochran, Parker Choate, Cody Davis, Cody Warmke, Austin Buie, Kollin Gretencord, Eli Jensen, Mitch Mauk, and Elson Blanding, Liam Strahan.
Assisting Davis were Ryan Gretencord and Derik Fouts and Caleb Blanding.