For the first time in nearly a quarter century, Atkinson is sending a team to the Junior Legion State Tournament.
Atkinson, who entered the tournament as the top seed in Class C Area 1, was nearly unstoppable offensively throughout, including a 14-10 victory over Crofton on Tuesday in the championship game.
Crofton got the scoring started with one run in the first before Atkinson put three runs on the board in the top of the second. Atkinson added one more in the third before Crofton reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the frame with a four run inning. However, that would be all the closer the game was, as Atkinson scored ten runs in the next three innings. Crofton was able to score four runs in the final inning, including three with two outs, but a Justin Lange groundout ended the game and sent Atkinson to state.
"We've hit good this whole tournament," said Coach Kerkman "If we play good defense, we've got the good pitching."
The good pitching for Atkinson came from Blake Hilkemeier on Tuesday. Hilkemeier held the Crofton offense in check for much of the game before Bryce Kerkman entered in relief to close the game.
Offensively for Atkinson, Shayden Neptune led the way after scoring three runs. Theo Stenka, Breydon Mlady and Mason Hale each added two runs for the area champions.