KINGMAN - When Kingman Academy baseball coach Bill McCord decided to split his team and have separate Black and Blue squads in 2011, it created close, down-to-the wire games and a pair of memorable state championship contests.
It's different this year. Instead of splitting the teams evenly, McCord decided to make Black the varsity and Blue the junior varsity. It showed Wednesday night in the final meeting between the two teams.
Black took an early 2-1 lead after two innings and scored 14 runs in the third inning en route to a 22-2 win at Southside Park.
"They are very timid players," said McCord, who was coaching the Blue team. "I think they are still nervous. There is a lot of youth there. There is a lot of inexperience - game experience. I think more game time will help them out."
Black's domination of Blue was also the final tuneup before Black heads to the 3A Charter Athletic Association playoffs beginning Tuesday at Phoenix College.
It was also a chance for a pair of seniors who don't see a whole lot playing time during the year to shine before the hometown crowd.
Wyatt McCord and Mitch Jantzen took advantage of the opportunity Wednesday night. McCord got a pair of hits and scored a run while Jantzen added an RBI single in the third inning and later scored.
"They all hit the ball. I'm really happy the way it turned out, especially Mitch and Wyatt. They both came through for us tonight," said assistant coach Tim Pena, who managed the Black team. "They don't get to play a whole lot but they made the best of their opportunities, so I'm happy for them."
Black (16-0) will be the No. 1 seed and will likely play fourth-seeded West Phoenix, with the winner advancing to next Friday's championship game.
Blue (7-7) was eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday after being swept in a doubleheader with South Ridge. Entering Tuesday, Blue needed to sweep the doubleheader and still get some help in order to lock up the fourth and final playoff spot.
Senior Ty Sherwood picked up the win, pitching a four-inning complete game, giving up two runs on one hit. He struck out six and walked one.
Sherwood also led Black at the plate with three hits, including a double and three runs scored. Matt Huggins added two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth, and Jake Miner added a two-run home run in the third.
Bailey Rust got the start for Blue and pitched three innings to pick up the loss, giving up 16 runs on 13 hits. He walked two and struck out two.
Josh Allen relieved Rust to start the fourth inning and gave up six runs on five hits including a three-run home run by Austin Tomlinson. He also walked two.
This year will mark the first time since 2010 that KAHS has only one team in the playoffs. It will also be the start of an adjustment period for both McCord and Pena, who have logged long hours in the development of the Tigers baseball program.
With KAHS' move to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the Tigers will only have one varsity team but will field a junior varsity team that will have a separate coaching staff.
"It's going to be different and we are going to miss doing both teams, but we are not going to miss the long hours," Pena said. "The kids are looking forward to going to the AIA next year. We are going to be competitive. We just need to continue to develop our younger kids and keep the ball rolling."
Posted: Friday, May 3, 2013
Article comment by:
MICHAEL VAN VLIET
BILL AND TIM HAVE DONE A GREAT JOB WITH THE BASEBALL PROGRAM THIS WILL BE 4 YEARS IN A ROW WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP MY SON SURE MISSES PLAYING WITH THE GUYS I UMPIRED ALOT OF THESE KIDS AND GOT TO SEE THEM DEVELOPE INTO YOUNG MEN AND GREAT BALL PLAYERS