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VFW 10U state baseball tournament opens today at Cadwell

Forty-one baseball teams will compete in the VFW 10U state baseball tournament Friday through Sunday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.

Teams from around the state will compete in four different divisions: AA Majors, AA Minors, A and B.

Mitchell will be sending four teams to compete in the state tournament with the Mitchell Mustangs competing in the AA Majors division; the Mitchell Cobras, Mitchell DeBoer and Mitchell Waddell competing in the AA Minors division.

Jeff Larson, who coaches the Mustangs, said the tournament is a great way to wrap up the season for the young baseball players and hopes his team can finish on top in their division.

"We're hoping to repeat what we did last year and win another championship," said Larson, whose team won the AA Minors division last year.

While Mitchell baseball teams competing in divisions under the age of 13 are represented by private teams and not the Mitchell Baseball Association, tournament director Todd Cavanaugh said the 10U tournament is a good start for kids.

"It's a good thing getting them to play baseball early," Cavanaugh said. "They develop skills and an understanding of the game, and then when they enter the MBA at age 13, we generally have some very good baseball players to work with."

Larson said he has been working with kids on his Mustang team, which plays its first game at 3:30 p.m. today, since they were 8 years old.

"We didn't play too many games when they were 8, but we just focused on the fundamentals," Larson said. "Last year, we really started traveling and playing in tournaments and we really taught them the game through those experiences."

The VFW 12U and 10U baseball tournaments rotate between Sioux Falls, Brandon and Mitchell. Brandon hosts the 12U tournament this year.

Cavanaugh said the tournament officially starts at 11 a.m. today and ends after the 12:30 p.m. championship game on Sunday.

"We have a marvelous facility to host tournaments," Cavanaugh said. "We have hosted a number of tournaments and each time it ends, we feel that we hosted a successful tournament."