KINGMAN - The adage says to save the best for last. That's exactly how it turned out for the Kingman Little League 13-14 Junior All Stars when they edged Lake Havasu Saturday at Southside Park to capture the District 9 championship, 2-0.
As a pitching duel between Havasu's Brendon Mitchell and Kingman's Paul Giglio was winding down, Kevin Cossio hit a line-drive double down the right-field line to drive in Chad Moore and Brad Hecker in the top of the seventh. Cossio, who missed the first two games of the series, was the last man off the bench for Kingman. It was his one and only at bat in three games because of a thumb injury.
"At first when I got two strikes, I didn't know what to do," Cossio said. "I was nervous but then decided I was going to hit the crap out of the ball. I got my pitch and hit it into right field."
Cossio got time to reflect on what he'd done for his team as his double chased Mitchell from the game.
"I just realized I helped us score two runs," he said. "It was the most amazing feeling."
Giglio went the distance for a complete game shutout. He surrendered four hits, issued two walks and struck out six.
In the bottom of the seventh and lifted up by having a two-run lead, Giglio struck out the side in order on 13 pitches.
"I was just pumping strikes and trying to let my defense do the work," the hurler said.
Only once did Havasu get a runner to third. That was in the third inning when Giglio worked out of a bases-loaded jam. For the most part, he kept Havasu off balance throughout the game.
"I went right at them and threw strikes," Giglio said.
Kingman won the opener of the three-game series Thursday, 7-1. Russell Cottrell went 4-for-4 and Mike Bathauer went 3-for-3 in that win. Matt Shaw got the win with five shutout innings.
Havasu forced a Game 3 with a 10-8 win Friday in 8 innings. Shaw went 3-for-3, Hecker was 2-for-2 plus a walk, and Matt Bathauer had two hits for Kingman.
With the District 9 championship, Kingman advances to the Arizona State Junior Baseball State tournament. The boys also get to play host with the tournament being played at Southside Park and Lee Williams High School.
State begins July 14 and the state championship game is scheduled on July 24.