Professional baseball too often dominates the diamond in America, dusting up the plate with the tantrums of multimillionaires and the kind of hype that sometimes only a marathon viewing of Field of Dreams can wash away.

It can leave a purist longing for what a coach calls the fundamentals not of how the game is played, however, but why.

For your teammates.

For your self.

For your parents, family and community.

For your greatest fan.

For the title.

And for the love of the game.

That is the beauty of youth sports, played not for the entertainment value or as a moneymaker, but for the game itself.

In this community, we support and even cherish youth sports, and the ball field has figured prominently in that passion. From the vacant lots of yesteryear to our modern Sports Complex, this is a game that engages our youth and defines our community.

Two teams of young women have taken that power and put it to work behind the plate, in the pitchers circle and in the on-field execution of some of the finest examples of class fielding the hot box rundown, the double play, even the simple but beautiful bagging of a sky-high pop fly.

In the Little League system, there are only 11 divisions when you include both the boys and girls.

Thanks to our outstanding athletes, Baker staked a claim to two of those titles this year.

If that werent amazing enough, consider: Bakers junior and senior 2001 all-star teams are and will always be state champions.

Say that. Savor it.

State champions.

Girls, you have made your entire community proud and left an impression that will echo long after youve graduated from the ranks of Little League and even high school.

People will gather during seventh-inning stretches at the Baker Sports Complex and tell tales about how both the juniors and seniors rebounded from an early loss at the state tournament to win two straight and take home the trophy.

Community members have rallied to round up funds to support the all-star teams at divisional and now, for the seniors, regional play.

We would like to suggest that, when this sensational season finally finds an end, that the two teams schedule an exhibition game at the Baker Sports Complex.

Neither team had a chance to play in Baker City in front of a hometown crowd. Instead, their success took them to such distant places as Great Falls, Mont., Mount Vernon, Wash., and Hawthorne, Calif.

But the hometown crowd desperately wants to see you play and cheer you on from a little closer than afar.