KINGMAN – The Kingman Senior Softball (KSS) squad has returned to Arizona with a second place team finish and a skills competition champion at the Tournament of Champions (TOC) in Florida. Only teams that win designated tournaments around the country are invited to the TOC event, held annually in February.
KSS warmed up with a win and a loss in seeding games played Friday. KSS then lost its first tournament game on Saturday before scoring 100 runs over its next four games in the AA 50’s Division.
KSS had a steep hill to climb through the loser’s bracket on elimination day, Sunday.
KSS managed to win three consecutive games to make it to the championship.
KSS first beat Romo’s (Texas) 25-9, then Buddie’s (Michigan) 23-8 and Manifest (Texas) 19-6. Exhaustion prevailed and KSS played a sloppy championship game and was blown out by the Jackson Merchants (Michigan) 19-5.
"That’s a great group of guys,” team Captain Bob Posey said of the champions. "We just ran out of gas.”
TOC activities include skills competitions for home runs, precision hitting, precision pitching and a speed event.
KSS outfielder Glenn Jordan proved himself the fastest man at the TOC. Jordan blazed around the bases in 13.15 seconds to win the speed competition.
"I ran early during the competition and when I posted the time and watched guys from all over the country come up short I kept thinking if this time holds up a guy representing Kingman, Arizona can say he beat everybody,” Jordan said. "I think my ability to cut the bases and use my inside foot to hit the last two bags made the difference.”
KSS players Bill McCord, Tim Pena, Roy Heisner and Mark Esquibel were named to the all-tournament team.
Esquibel, the “most seasoned” player on the team, 62 years young, pitched seven tournament games, attributing KSS success to its tight knit family nature.
“That’s why our team does so well. Everyone works together. We work hard and we have fun,” Esquibel said. He also saluted player’s spouses for their contributions.
"We call them the KSS ladies. They cheer us on. They bring us food and fluids and give us what we need to heal our wounds,” Esquibel said. "We are old guys playing a kid’s game. We love it too much to give it up.”
Esquibel said the Kingman community was well represented in Florida.
“Everywhere we went we wore Kingman shirts and KSS and we were all over the Tampa area – different places, different beaches – as a group,” “Many people we ran into were quite amazed to see such a large group (26 person contingent) doing this kind of event together. We had an awesome time. It was great.”
KSS manager Dave Hawkins said the team wants to thank the many individuals and businesses that contributed by helping sponsor the expensive adventure.
“This community has been supporting us for four years now,” Hawkins said. “We really appreciate it.”