Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – The slogan “you win some, you lose some” is all too familiar in the game of baseball.
Manager Chad Benson used that phrase Thursday night, but he also made sure to challenge the Kingman North 10-12 All Stars following a 9-6 loss to Needles in the District 9 Tournament at Southside Park.
“My message to the team was, ‘How are you going to respond? Are you going to come back, focus and stay within yourselves,’” Benson said. “‘Do all the things that you know how to do, execute them fundamentally, play hard and play the best that you can.’”
Kingman North showed that it could execute at the plate by jumping on Needles in the first inning – highlighted by Izaiah Orozco’s two-run double for a 3-0 advantage.
The fast start made it appear the contest would be a replay of Kingman North’s 12-2 win Tuesday night, but that wasn’t the case.
Needles turned a 4-1 deficit to start the bottom of the fourth into a 7-4 advantage. Kingman North started the frame with consecutive walks and it went downhill from there.
Every Needles batter stepped up to the plate in a six-run inning that proved to be enough for the final tally.
“That’s a good team,” Benson said. “I fully expect them to be back (tonight) ready to go.”
Kingman North’s starter Vonn Anderson held Needles in check early on – striking out two and yielding three hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. Anderson also helped his own cause at the plate with a double and two runs scored.
“Vonn did a great job tonight,” Benson said.
Unfortunately, Kingman North couldn’t find its bats – finishing with six hits after racking up 12 base knocks Tuesday.
This time around Needles’ Dyron Miller shut down Kingman North by allowing one unearned run on four hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 5 1/3 innings of work.
“There’s some good pitching right there – all the way around,” Benson said. “Those guys were hitting their locations, hitting their spots, and as hitters we have to stay disciplined.”
Kingman North can put it all in the rearview mirror though, as it faces the same Needles squad at 7 p.m. Friday in a winner-take-all contest to determine the District 9 Champion. The victor clinches a spot at state starting July 17 in Scottsdale.