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Little League: Kingman North 9-11 All Stars use big 4th inning to beat Blythe

The Kingman North 9-11 All Stars celebrate on the field after defeating Blythe, 12-2, to advance in the District 9 Tournament at Southside Park. (Courtesy of Jakki Paulson)

The Kingman North 9-11 All Stars celebrate on the field after defeating Blythe, 12-2, to advance in the District 9 Tournament at Southside Park. (Courtesy of Jakki Paulson)

KINGMAN – Sometimes all it takes is one swing of the bat and a team finds its spark at the plate. That was the case Tuesday night for the Kingman North 9-11 All Stars as a seven-run fourth inning propelled the squad to a 12-2 win over Blythe during the second round of the District 9 Tournament at Southside Park.

“Once someone gets a good hit, the whole team gets hyped up,” said Kingman North’s catcher Thomas Doxtater. “Then we all start hitting the ball.”

Doxtater wasn’t responsible for the first hit of the fourth, but he did put the finishing touches on a successful inning with a two-run inside-the-park home run that gave Kingman North a 6-1 advantage.

Blythe didn’t do itself any favors to start the frame though – loading the bases with a combination of walks and hit batters.

That’s when Isaiah Houston stepped up to the plate and laced a two-run double to give Kingman North a 2-1 lead. That hit shifted the momentum in Kingman North’s favor and the squad never looked back.

“All of the sudden in the fourth inning our bats came alive,” said Kingman North manager Robert Paulson. “It started with the top and just went down the list – everyone started hitting. We had a couple of errors go our way and it was a big inning for us. It really helped us a lot.”

Kingman North kept its bats going in the fifth inning – putting up five runs to make sure Blythe didn’t have a chance to mount a comeback in the sixth. The highlight of the frame was Izsik Malone’s two-run triple. He came home on the play due to a Blythe error.

That put the nail in the coffin and also ensured that everyone in Kingman North’s lineup scored at least one run for the second night in a row.

“We are a well-rounded team and everybody on the list can hit the ball,” Paulson said. “That’s a really big asset to have, and it’s great I can make a few small changes in the lineup and everyone can still hit, everyone can still score, and everyone can contribute in some way or another.”

But it wasn’t just Kingman North’s hitting that led it to victory, the pitching and defense were also instrumental.

Not only did Kingman North make a number of great plays on the field to hold Blythe in check, but starting pitcher Ethan Sherer was also dealing on the mound. Sherer yielded one earned run with three strikeouts and one walk in 3 1/3 innings of work.

“Ethan is a great pitcher,” Paulson said. “The thing about him is he doesn’t throw hard, but he’ll throw strikes – nine out of 10 pitches are going to be strikes. And they’re hard to hit because they’re dropping out from underneath the hitters and he’s locating well.”

Kingman North returns to the field at 6 p.m. Thursday against the winner of Kingman South-Blythe, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

“The day of rest is huge for this team,” Paulson said. “They’re really going to soak that up and I hope Thursday we come out with a lot of energy right out of the gate. I have a feeling we’re going to be playing this Blythe team again. We’ll see how it goes, but Wednesday’s day off will be huge for us.”