KINGMAN - Fifteen games became 15 wins this season for the Kingman North Little League D-backs, including Thursday's District 9 Minors Tournament of Champions final over Needles at Southside Park, 21-11.
"We had a great season and we had a great game today," said D-backs pitcher/catcher Noah Petrauschke, 9. "We hit and had some good fielding. We won the championship, and that's what it's about."
Overcoming Needles wasn't as easy as the score looks. The Californians jumped out 5-0 in the top of the first, but the D-backs answered with seven in the bottom half. Needles reclaimed the lead for the final time in the second, 8-7. That's because the D-backs rode a 12-run second inning en route to winning the championship trophy.
"We played a great game, and Needles was a tough team," said D-backs coach Chad Benson. "We didn't have any pitchers left, but that's the battle. All of our players came through, and I can't single out any one kid. They all put the ball in play and scored when it counted."
There were at least 100 spectators taking in the championship game, and Benson was most impressed by his players' composure.
"It's tough for these nine- and 10-year-olds with this big crowd and a little bit of a controversial game," the coach said. "That was a lot of pressure, but they handled it well."
Cade Benson (4-4, 2 triples, 5 runs), Petrauschke (2-3, 3 walks, a double, 4 runs) and Riley Feil (3-3, 3 walks, 6 runs) led the D-backs offensively.
Feil, Troy Edwards and Hunter Villaincourt all pitched for the winners.
"We practiced hard with a lot of batting practice, and we developed some pitchers," Benson said. "Get in a tournament like this, you need a lot of pitchers and catchers."
The coach wanted to make sure the league and its volunteers were recognized for their diligence in making the tournament a success.
"They were working morning and night," Benson said. "This is amazing that Kingman and its people can come together like this and put all this together."
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