KINGMAN - The Chicago Cubs may not have won a World Series since 1908, but Kingman South Little League's City Towing Cubs ended a 19-year drought for Kingman teams when the Cubs won the District 9 Major Tournament of Champions June 12 in Mohave Valley.
The Cubs capped off a perfect 22-0 season by winning the tournament, the first time a team from Kingman won the tournament since 1989 when the Kingman South Giants did it. Since its inception in 1984, a Kingman squad has won the tournament just three times. "It's great to bring back Kingman history," said Lukas Butler, a member of the Cubs.
The Cubs went through the 10-team tournament with a 4-0 record and won the championship game in thrilling style over the Bullhead City White Sox, 9-6. The White Sox entered the championship game with a perfect record as well, said Cubs' coach Ray Butler.
Johnny Murphy started the championship game for the Cubs, going 4-2/3 innings and striking out 13 until he ran into trouble in the fifth with the Cubs leading 5-2. Murphy loaded the bases on three consecutive walks, and Kyle Garney of the White Sox gave the Bullhead team a 6-5 lead with a grand slam.
But the Cubs were not to be denied. Brett Sipe tripled off the center field fence and scored when Butler doubled him in to tie the game 6-6 in the sixth and final inning. Caleb Boyett hit into a fielder's choice and Butler moved over to third on the play. Dylan File singled to knock in Butler to put the Cubs back up, 7-6.
Quinn Garcia and Murphy followed File with singles, and the Cubs went into the bottom of the sixth with a 9-6 lead.
Any thoughts of a comeback by the White Sox were put to rest by the spectacular play of Butler at second base. The White Sox led off the inning with a blooper between Butler and the right fielder. Butler raced out for the ball, laid himself out and caught it for the first out of the inning.
"I almost dropped it," Butler said, "but I used my other hand to keep it in my glove."
After Butler's catch, Garcia struck out the final two White Sox hitters to give the Cubs the championship.
Ray Butler said that the Cubs remained upbeat after their three-run lead disappeared in the fifth. "One of the things was that we were undefeated," he said. "They didn't think losing was an option."
For Sipe, winning the championship against a team from Bullhead was sweet. "It was sort of like revenge," Sipe said. "We lost to Bullhead in our first game last year."
Sipe went 4-for-4 with a triple, double and two singles to lead the Cubs. Butler went 3-for-4 with three doubles.
The Cubs opened the tournament with a 6-2 win over Laughlin in what Ray Butler described as "a modest win." The Cubs then proceeded to roll over Parker, 12-1, in a game that ended with the mercy rule after Murphy belted a three-run home run in the fifth inning.
Sipe came through for the Cubs in a 10-4 win over the Lake Havasu City North Dodgers in the semifinals.
Butler said that Sipe pitched a complete game and struck out eight.
Offensively, Sipe had a triple and a double with two runs scored. Boyett and Shawn Bell each contributed a double and drove in runs for the Cubs.
Though the Cubs obviously knew they had won the tournament, it wasn't until they got to view the trophy that it sunk in for them.
"They knew it had been a long time," Butler said. "Once they had the trophy, they saw what they had done."