Little League: Kingman 10-12 All Stars take down Kingman North
KINGMAN – Triples in baseball are rare, but a batter connecting on two triples in one game is even more uncommon. Don’t tell that to Kingman’s Gaven Kolar though.
Gaven accomplished the feat Wednesday night to help propel his squad to a 14-7 victory over Kingman North in the consolation bracket of the 10-12 All Stars Tournament at Southside Park.
“You put him between the lines in a game and nothing affects him,” Kingman manger Adam Thomason said of Gaven. “He got the two biggest hits of the tournament so far for us. And those weren’t bleeders that fell in somewhere – those were shots. And that’s not a big kid, he put a charge into both of those. An unbelievable effort from him.”
Gaven’s impact was even more impressive considering he didn’t enter the lineup until the fifth inning and was hitting in the No. 7 spot.
That didn’t stop him as he stepped up to the plate and laced a two-run triple during his first at-bat. He wasn’t done yet – following it up with a three-run triple in the sixth that accounted for important insurance runs.
Kingman’s No. 6 hitter Nathan Cunningham was also crucial to the offensive outburst, finishing 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, highlighted by an RBI double in the fifth.
“You expect it out of the top guys in the lineup, but when the bottom comes through it’s such a relief as a manager,” Thomason said.
Kingman’s hitting was no doubt crucial to the win, but ace Taelon Thomason single-handily silenced Kingman North’s bats. Taelon tallied six strikeouts in five innings and made quick work of Kingman North batters in the first four frames as only one runner scored.
“I wish he had enough to finish the game, but by far the best performance I’ve ever seen,” Adam Thomason said of his son. “I’m a little biased, but when the lights shine brightest, he’s not afraid to step up. I’m not only proud as a coach, but I’m proud as a dad, too.”
Thompson wasn’t the only one proud as Kingman North manager Robert Paulson couldn’t have asked for a better effort from his squad in a losing effort.
Kingman North entered the bottom of the sixth facing a 14-2 deficit, but rallied back for five runs to make it interesting.
“That is the epitome of what this team is all about,” Paulson said of the sixth-inning rally. “We fought from the first pitch of the tournament to the last pitch. Just nothing but hats off to these kids. It’s been an honor coaching them and watching their heart. They are warriors.”
Albert Lopez led the way for Kingman North, finishing with three hits – including a two-run triple in the sixth. Kambryn Paulson also drove in a run on a single in the second inning.
Kingman North’s tournament run may be over, but the athletes won’t soon forget their roots.
“At the end of the day, we’re all Kingman,” Paulson said. “We’re going to come out and support them. We hope they go on and win this thing – absolutely. Obviously we wanted to, but that’s not the way it worked out this year. Last year we got them. It is what it is, but we’re one town. So we’re going to have their backs.”
Kingman won’t have much time to celebrate the victory though. Next up is a 7 p.m. contest Thursday against Mohave Valley on Field 5.
“Nathan Cunningham will be back on the bump (Thursday),” Adam Thomason said. “And if he throws strikes like he did the first game, I think we’ll be in a pretty good spot. It is one day at a time now. At this point, especially in the loser’s bracket, you’re kind of scrambling for pitching. So hopefully we get a good outing and if we do, we’ll probably be there the next day.”