Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – One year ago, Blythe, California came up short in its quest to win a District 9 Championship as it lost to Lake Havasu City South.
The 10-12 All Stars put that setback in the rearview mirror Wednesday night, as they cruised to a 12-1 win over Mohave Valley in five innings due to the run-rule during the District 9 Tournament title game at Southside Park.
Blythe vs. Mohave Valley 10-12 All Stars Little League Championship June 28 Southside Park
Blythe, California defeated Mohave Valley 12-1 Wednesday in the 10-12 All Stars District 9 Tournament Championship at Southside Park. Photos by Beau Bearden.
“Walking off this field was tough last year,” Blythe manager William Fletcher said. “To come back this year and be here again, and this time do it, I’m so proud of these kids.”
Blythe’s championship win was even more impressive considering it was a complete team-effort. Not only did the offense finish with 13 total hits and 12 RBI’s, but the pitching duo of Ty Cruz and Ty Phipps shut down Mohave Valley.
Cruz started the game and yielded a leadoff homer before putting on a pitching clinic. He allowed just four hits, while finishing with six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings of work.
Phipps, meanwhile, struck out four in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
“These kids fight and they do well with each other,” Fletcher said. “Ty Cruz did a good job giving us an early lead with that home run and then pitching us out of jams. Ty Phipps came in afterwards and closed it.”
Cruz gave Blythe’s offense a spark in the top of the first, as he connected on a two-run homer. Mohave Valley’s Gavin Hogencamp responded with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning, but that was all the offense could muster.
Blythe’s bats, on the other hand, were quiet during the second and third innings, but then caught fire in the fourth. It appeared Mohave Valley would get out of the frame with just one run scoring and a 3-0 deficit, but that wasn’t the case.
Instead, Blythe’s two-out rally produced six runs and Mohave Valley found itself in a 9-1 hole.
“They got the bats going,” Fletcher said. “I’m proud of these kids.”
Blythe’s offense didn’t stop there though, increasing its lead to 12-1 in the top of the fifth.
Phipps then sealed the victory by striking out three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the fifth.
With the win, Blythe advances to the state tournament July 17 in Mesa and Fletcher has confidence his team can make some noise.
“These kids battle together, they’re great and they work hard,” he said. “We’re going to absolutely give it a run for our money. We’re going to have a great chance to do something and represent District 9. I want to thank District 9 President Leigh Pitts, the umpires and overall to Kingman for hosting a great tournament.”