KINGMAN - Consider it a lesson learned for the Sidewinders, Kingman's 16-and-under girls fast pitch softball traveling team, after they posted a 1-3 record at the Father's Day Classic that ended on June 15 at the Desert West Sports Complex in Phoenix.
"The reason we didn't play well was that we didn't practice enough," coach Greg Book said. "We only practiced three or four times in the last two weeks, and it showed. We were rusty."
Book was quick to put the onus on himself for not scheduling enough practices, and he was equally as quick to correct the situation. "We needed to practice more, so we've been going at it at 5:30 a.m.," he said. "They've been practicing very intensely all week long, so we'll see a different team at the Kingman tournament."
The tournament that Book spoke of is the upcoming Amateur Softball Association 2008 Class B State Girls Fast Pitch Tournament that takes place Friday through Sunday at Centennial Park.
"They're pretty excited about it, and they've been showing it in practice," Book said. "We're getting on the right track."
At the Father's Day Classic, the Sidewinders didn't pick up their win until the third game. The crew from Kingman opened with a 10-5 loss to AZ Quicksilver and was shut out by eventual tournament champions, the Tucson Knockouts, 13-0. The Sidewinders only trailed 2-0 through four innings before the Knockouts let loose.
"The Knockouts were the best team that I've seen since I've been coaching fast pitch," Book said. "They are an all-year-round team, and they had their stuff together."
Kingman edged the Arizona Hazzard 7-5 before being eliminated from the tournament by the Tucson Blitz, 7-4. "We shouldn't have lost to the Blitz," Book said. "We made some early errors and never recovered."
Though the scores indicate otherwise, pitching was not the issue with the Sidewinders. The team made too many mistakes out in the field, Book explained. "I felt bad for Kylie (Ostermeier) and Tiffany (Molloy)," he said. "They pitched as well as they could pitch. We didn't back them up defensively, and that is my fault."
Jordan Book scored 4 runs and paced the Sidewinders along with Molloy and Tesla Morgan with 2 RBIs.
Bethany Hiser, Morgan, Bianca Sapien and Kyra Williams led the Sidewinders with 5 hits each. Williams and Morgan both hit .556 for the tournament.
Hiser and Williams stood out with their performances in the tournament for Book.
"Bethany seemed to have it together, and Kyra played with all heart. Kyra stood out as somebody that we could all learn some things from," he said.
Hiser is a recent transplant from Lake Havasu City who is hitting .406 on the season and is second on the team with 10 stolen bases. "It's a better learning experience here," she said.
Williams improved her average to .292 with her 5-for-9 performance in Phoenix. "I try to hustle, cheer my team up and keep them focused," Williams said about her attitude on the field. "I don't let them hang their heads."
For those wishing to get a glimpse of the Sidewinders before the ASA state championship, Kingman will scrimmage the Havasu Scorchers at 6 p.m. today on Field 1 at Southside Park.
"These kids want to be at a different level," Book said. "We'll see the benefits (of practice) at the Kingman tournament for sure."
Both Hiser and Williams said that they feel like the Sidewinders are ready to step up and win a tournament - the Kingman tournament, in fact. "Our hard work will pay off," Hiser said.