KINGMAN – Experience comes from a win or a loss, but the Kingman South 8-10 All Stars’ first game was a hard learning experience.
The team lost to Needles 20-3 in the first round of the District 9 Tournament Friday – a hard loss, but one that showed the team still has some learning to do.
“Needles came out firing,” said manager Mike Collins. “My kids couldn’t hit. I think that they were a bit intimidated.”
Collins knew youth was going to be a challenge and that the team would have to execute if it wanted to beat a strong Needles squad. The game was set to start at 8 p.m., but was delayed until 8:45 p.m. and Collins believes that hurt the team as well.
“I think waiting and the late night also played into our teams’ nerves,” Collins said. “We finished at 11:20 last night.”
A late game can hurt a young team and it experienced more bad luck when the sprinklers turned on during the game. The game was moved to a different field during the inning that Collins felt the team had finally settled in. Kingman South seemed to lose its focus after the move, and Needles capitalized.
Despite the loss, Rilee Otto, Evan Meins and Eyan Meins were stars of the game.
“Rilee did an outstanding job,” Collins said. “He started at center field, then went to catcher, and finished the game at third. He also scored one of our runs.”
Rilee is one of the older players on the team and played in his first All Star game.
“Eyan and Evan Meins also did very well,” Collins said. “Eyan pitched an inning and a half only allowing 2 runs. Evan finished at shortstop catching a line drive in the last inning.”
The team started the first two innings timid at the plate, but started gaining confidence in the final two innings.
Kingman North will look to play like it did in the final two innings when it plays Blythe at 8 p.m. Saturday in Lake Havasu City.
“They are a big, hard throwing team,” Collins said of Blythe.
Collins will talk to the team about mental toughness when it takes the field.
“We worked extremely hard in practice,” Collins said. “They need to trust their training.”
In other action, the Kingman North 8-10 All Stars dropped a 14-9 loss to Bullhead City in the first round of the District 9 Tournament. Kingman North looks to stay alive in the double-elimination tourney at 5 p.m. Saturday when it faces Parker in Lake Havasu City.