KINGMAN - Through five innings Tuesday it looked like a cakewalk for the Kingman Academy baseball team as the Tigers held an eight-run lead over host Kingman. However, the Bulldogs rallied against Academy relievers and scored seven runs in the sixth to close the gap to one. In the end they came up short in Kingman Academy's 13-10 win.
Tarik Skubal kept Kingman at bay for those first five innings. Skubal allowed one earned run on four hits, fanned 11 but did walk four.
"We had talked beforehand about starting Tarik and bringing in Westin (McCord)," said Kingman Academy coach Bill McCord. "Maybe I shouldn't have done that. That's on me."
McCord relieved Skubal and the Bulldogs' bats got hot. Kingman got two-run singles by Tyler Logas and Joemar Bautista and RBI single by Tyler Julle to close the gap from 11-3 to 11-10.
McCord pitched one-third of an inning and gave up six earned runs on four hits and a walk. T.J. Pena took over for McCord and he, too, only went one-third of an inning. He gave up an earned run on one hit and three walks.
Fortunately for Kingman Academy (6-0), Austin Tomlinson was up to the task. He got the Tigers out of the sixth inning and then retired the Bulldogs in order in the seventh to preserve the win.
"Goat (Tomlinson) came in and did a great job," the coach said.
Offensively, the Tigers were steady throughout the game. Kingman Academy scored in six of the seven innings, including four in the second to give the Tigers an early six-run lead, 6-0.
"Our bats were on and stayed on," McCord said. "That was a good thing."
The Tigers scored all four of those runs with two outs, and the Bulldogs sense they let one get away.
"I would say the difference between a win and a loss in that game is that we gave up six runs (total) with two outs," said Kingman coach Chad Baitinger. "You can't win a lot of ballgames doing that."
McCord and Chy Banda each had three hits for the Tigers. McCord had two doubles, homered and drove in three runs. Banda also had three RBIs and doubled once.
McCord is hitting .554 over 16 games, including tournament games, and has 24 stolen bases.
"The bat feels good in my hands," the senior catcher said. "I just don't try too hard. That's when stuff goes down. I'm just having fun."
Lukas Butler delivered three base hits, including two doubles, for Kingman (0-2). Logas drove in three on two hits, and Bautista had two RBIs.
Kingman plays Mingus (4-0) at 3:45 p.m. Friday in Cottonwood. The Tigers host Estrella Foothills (3-1, 0-1) in a Section 2 game at 3:45 p.m. Friday at Southside Park.