LAKE HAVASU CITY – The game of baseball is very similar to life – momentum can be in your favor one minute and then before you know it, it’s gone.
The Kingman North Little League championship squad experienced that Saturday at the 2017 District 9 Majors Tournament of Champions, as the D-backs saw an early lead disappear in a 7-6 loss to Mohave Valley at Sara Park in Lake Havasu City.
“The ballgame could have went either way at any moment. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out this time,” Kingman North manager Chad Benson said. “Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose some. The most important thing is that we not only develop baseball players here, but also good quality young men. That’s what it’s about. I know there’s some sadness and some hurt feelings when these boys lose, but we want to develop these young men for our future.”
The Keller Williams Realty – Lander Team D-backs definitely experienced a roller coaster of emotions Saturday, as their 6-1 advantage turned into a tie game at the end of the fifth inning.
Kingman North couldn’t push across any runs in the top of the sixth and then watched the game-running win score on a walk in the bottom half of the frame.
The D-backs started the sixth by getting an out, but then yielded a double and three straight walks to end the game. As the Rockies rushed the field to celebrate, Kingman North experienced the opposite feeling in a tough loss.
“We got in there and battled,” Benson said. “Mohave Valley has tough pitching. Those kids throw hard. They’re hitting spots and unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top.”
The D-backs may not have won the game, but they demonstrated their offensive power early in the contest. Keygun Field started the fireworks for Kingman North, connecting on a two-run single in the first inning to score Cade Benson and Gauge Short.
Noah Petrauschke then stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run double to plate Nick Kennedy and Field.
Petrauschke reached third on the same play as Mohave Valley’s outfielder misjudged the ball. He then scored on a passed ball to give Kingman North a 5-0 advantage.
“Mohave Valley hits good pitching, but so do we and we demonstrated that in the beginning of the game,” coach Benson said. “We jumped out and put it on them right away.”
Kruz Yocum added an insurance run in the second inning, but Mohave Valley slowly chipped away at the deficit. The Rockies exploded for three runs in the third frame to inch within one run at 6-5.
The damage had been done and the momentum shifted in favor of Mohave Valley.
The D-backs did have a chance to regain control in the sixth inning. PJ Zubia was hit by a pitch to start the frame and then stole second and third base. Unfortunately, Kingman North couldn’t bring him home and the Rockies won the game in the bottom of the frame.
“From a baseball aspect, we left a few runs hanging out there,” coach Benson said. “It happens. We’re not perfect. All we can do is learn from it, go on and keep getting better.”