|Members of the Kingman South 11-12 All Star team include, front row from left, Garrett Martin, Kevin Cossio, Kade Juelfs, Dustin Ferro and Bradley Ogden. Back row from left, Rilee Araya, Jacob Massey, Ryan Harley, Marlyn Chastain-Gary, Cameron Ott and Hunter Empey. Coaches Kevin Ott and Orlando Araya. Not pictured: Addis Guzman and coach Joe Juelfs. |
KINGMAN - Heading into the 11-12 District 9 All Star Tournament in Bullhead City, Kingman South manager Kevin Ott said he was confident in the team.
"I think we put together a good team. I think it's going to be a good opportunity to advance," Ott said.
South advanced in the tournament opener Wednesday with a 5-3 win over Yuma East and will play Bullhead City at 7:45 p.m. tonight.
"We feel confident that we can win," Ott said Wednesday afternoon before South's victory. "We have an advantage of getting the first-round bye. That always helps with keeping the pitch counts low. Hopefully we can take advantage of the gifts we've been given with the bye round and make the most of it and try and get as far as we can in the tournament."
South will be led by the pitching of Kevin Cossio, Marlyn Chastain-Gary, Jacob Massey and Bradley Ogden. However, they will be without the services of Rilee Araya, who suffered a non-baseball related injury.
"Pitching is looking good. We suffered a little bit of a blow when one of our stronger pitchers went down," Ott said.
Offensively, Ogden, Cossio, Chastain-Gary, Cameron Ott, Addis Guzman and Ryan Hurley will look to contribute at the plate.
In addition to the pitching and hitting, the other key for South could come from the experience level with a majority of the team coming off of last year's District 9 10-11 championship team. They also played in the state tournament that was held in Kingman.
"It certainly helps with nerves and feeling comfortable going into the game," Ott said. "It gives them a little bit of an advantage and they know what to expect. The level of competition is a little different from the normal season. The returning players will see that and hopefully be a good influence on the younger players that haven't been there before."
The tournament opened Tuesday and will conclude next week with the championship game set for Wednesday. With the length of the tournament, pitching and managing the pitch counts are always key. Winners also need solid defense and few, if any, errors.
"Errors are huge. That is one of the biggest problems with the errors. Every time we miss an out that we should have, you add five or six pitches to that pitch count and it makes a big difference," Ott said. "Pitch counts are one of the big determining factors in how far you go in these tournaments. You have to be able to keep your pitch counts low and try and get through games quickly."