Little League Roundup: Kingman's all-around effort propels it past Parker
KINGMAN – Gabe Torres did not have the start he would have liked Monday against Parker during the 10-12 All Stars Tournament.
The Kingman pitcher yielded four straight walks before being replaced on the mound, but Torres responded at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance as his squad knocked off Parker 12-2 at Southside Park.
“I just got down on myself, but I had to get back up,” Torres said. “You can’t show emotions or else your team is going to get down, too.”
Torres proved that at the plate, connecting on singles in the first and third innings and then topping it off with a double in the fifth inning. The three hits were crucial for Kingman, and manager Adam Thomason expected that and more from his No. 3 hitter.
“Gabe is still one of the best players on this team and you saw that double he ripped down the line,” Thomason said. “This team is going to go as he goes. He kept his head in there – I was proud of that kid. He could have easily given up after that half inning.”
Meanwhile, Kingman cleanup hitter Paul Nicholson Jr. was an RBI machine with a three-run double in the first and another RBI on a sacrifice play in the fifth.
“The three-run double was huge,” Thomason said of Nicholson Jr. “He’s been doing it all year during the regular season. I don’t expect anything less out of that kid.”
Kingman also received a great outing on the mound as two pitchers combined to strike out nine Parker batters and yield no runs after allowing two to cross home plate in the first frame.
“Outside of that first inning, that’s probably the most dominant game you could really have,” Thomason said. “Outside of those walks, there’s not much more you can ask for as a coach. The defense was great, the pitching was great. That’s how we’re going to win this tournament – pitching and defense.”
Kingman will get its chance to prove that at 8 p.m. Tuesday against Lake Havasu City on Field 4. Lake Havasu City knocked off Blythe 7-6 in an extra innings affair and the winner of Tuesday’s contest advances to face either Mohave or Needles at 8 p.m. Thursday.
“It doesn’t get any easier because we have the winner of Havasu and Blythe,” Thomason said prior to knowing Lake Havasu City had advanced. “And historically, those are two pretty good teams. Whoever we face (Tuesday), they’re going to be ready. So we better be ready too.”
Needles 12, Kingman North 2
It was not the start Kingman North wanted Monday night in the first round of the 10-12 All Stars Tournament. The squad yielded nine early runs and never recovered in a 12-2 setback to Needles at Southside Park.
“We came out with a little bit of nerves and credit to Needles – they came out and jumped all over our pitcher,” said Kingman North manager Robert Paulson. “You could see it all over with our defense not making the plays that we know we can make. You take those nine runs away and we’re right in this game.”
But Kingman North kept at it despite the early deficit and scratched across a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. Albert Lopez scored first on a wild pitch and three batters later Cannon Cobanovich connected on an RBI double to plate Tayon Kite.
“That’s what you look for – it shows character and shows what the team is made of,” Paulson said of the late rally. “They all backed each other up. Nobody got down on anybody. It shows tenacity and that’s something that we look for as coaches. Win or lose – did we ever give up? And I can honestly say we did not stop.”
It could have been easy for Kingman North to hang their heads after trailing 10-0 after three innings of action.
But that didn't happen.
Instead, Kingman North tacked on the pair of runs to make sure the game continued and didn’t end in four innings due to the 10-run rule.
“At this age group, it’s hard for them to not see that big deficit and get discouraged,” Paulson said. “But this team really did rally together and fought and climbed and tried to stay in it the best they could. And we did not see a single head drop or an attitude come up. So I’m proud of these boys for the way they stayed in this game despite the big deficit.”
Kingman North drops into the consolation bracket and battles Bullhead City at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The winner advances and the loser is eliminated.
9-11 All Stars
Kingman North 10, Kingman 8
At Southside Park, one team had to come out on top during the city clash and that team was Kingman North by a narrow 10-8 margin.
Kingman jumped out to an 8-0 advantage, but Kingman North didn’t sweat the deficit – scoring 10 unanswered runs for the victory.
With the win, Kingman North advances to a contest against Parker at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The winner of that contest moves back up to the winner’s bracket for a 5:30 p.m. game Wednesday against Mohave Valley.