|RODNEY HAAS/Miner |
Members of the Kingman South 9-10 All Star team are, front row from left: Coleton Padilla, Garrett Diem, Brady Clark, Ryelen Samson, Connor Watson and Ethan Fancher. Back row from left: Braden Judd, Gabriel Imus, Ganner Morris, Wyatt Hall and David Lopez. Coaches are Jack Morris, Steve Samson, Jamie Clark and Donnie Hall. Kingman South will open the tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday at Southside Park against Blythe, Calif.
KINGMAN - Last year, the Kingman South 9-10 All Star team had to travel to Blythe, Calif., for the District 9 All Star Tournament.
This year, the original schedule had them traveling to Yuma, but, because of issues surrounding Yuma's Little Leagues, the tournament was pulled and awarded to Kingman - giving the South All Star team a chance to play in front of the home crowd and sleep in their own beds.
"Last year it was in Blythe and it was fun, but it will be fun here in Kingman as well," said South manager Donnie Hall. "It's definitely a plus. We are excited. We've been thinking of this team since the season started. I'm glad to have it here."
Last year, South dropped its opening game and battled its way through the loser's bracket before falling to Yuma West.
This year, Hall hopes history doesn't repeat itself when South opens the tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday against Blythe at Southside Park.
"I'm pretty confident," Hall said. "They are well-disciplined and there is a lot of experience on this team. I think we are going to do well and stay on the top side of the bracket.
"Most of them were on the All Star team last year and I think there are seven of them that play baseball year-around on the Krush team. It's just what they do every day."
South will be led by its pitching, which includes Garret Diem, Wyatt Hall, Gabriel Imus, Braden Judd, Brady Clark and Ganner Morris.
"We are pretty deep," Hall said. "We have at least four kids that we can go to at any time, and then we have situational pitchers, so we should be good."
Wyatt Hall, Morris, Imus, Diem and Clark will need to carry the offensive load, but Hall said he feels his entire team is capable of putting the bat on the ball at any time.
"They all hit it - 1-through-7 should be brutal - and the younger kids are all capable of hitting the ball at any time," Hall said.
However, there is always one major X factor when it comes to Little League baseball.
"They are 9 and 10 years old, so they can have an off day and go into the loser's bracket as quick as we can keep winning," Hall said. "Overall we have good bats, good pitching and experience, and I think we are a solid team."