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Mon, Aug. 19

Prep Softball: Lady Bulldogs take down Academy for 3rd place at Coca-Cola Classic

The Kingman High School softball team poses with the 3rd-place trophy Saturday after defeating Kingman Academy in the Coca-Cola Classic. Window Rock won the tournament by holding off Lake Havasu 9-8. (Courtesy)

The Kingman High School softball team poses with the 3rd-place trophy Saturday after defeating Kingman Academy in the Coca-Cola Classic. Window Rock won the tournament by holding off Lake Havasu 9-8. (Courtesy)

KINGMAN – It’s never fun to play an opponent twice in a matter of a few days, but imagine facing a familiar foe three times in four days.

That’s exactly what happened Saturday as the Kingman High School softball team battled to a 7-2 victory over Kingman Academy in the 3rd-place game of the Coca-Cola Classic at Centennial Park.

“We would have liked to probably play somebody different, but at the same time Academy is a good team,” said Lady Bulldogs head coach Craig Lee. “That’s the bottom line – we want to play good teams. And we want to keep winning. To come out here and go 5-1, I’m extremely happy and proud of these kids.”

Kingman’s lone blemish of the two-day tournament was an 8-0 setback to Lake Havasu in the semifinals that dropped the Lady Bulldogs into the 3rd-place game.

Lee still felt Kingman gave 100 percent despite that loss.

“I don’t think we had a letdown the whole time,” he said. “Havasu beat us – our bats got a little bit cold that game. But I don’t think we weren’t focused or the effort wasn’t there. We played hard like we were supposed to.”

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t let the loss knock them down though as they jumped out early against the Lady Tigers.

Kingman did allow one run in the top of the first, but Kearra Tauta quickly gave her squad the lead with a two-run homer in the bottom half of the frame.

That sparked the Lady Bulldogs’ offense as they added three runs in the second and two more in the fourth. Academy put up a fight with a run in the first, third and fifth innings, but couldn’t scratch across any more runs.

Tauta finished the game 2-for-2 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Morgan Stephens drove in two runs on a single in the fourth.

“Morgan Stephens had an unbelievable tournament,” Lee said. “She was huge for us. Kearra Tauta and Ariana McKowan had some big home runs for us. But I think Morgan let us the whole tournament with her leadership, her effort and her selflessness playing. She’s playing three different positions for us. She works really hard, so I’m really proud of her.”

Meanwhile, Randa Short led the Lady Tigers with two hits and a RBI, while Kiley Holloway also drove in a run.

“I’m just so proud of them,” said Academy head coach Annette McCord. “I can’t express how proud I am of them. We don’t have a lot of depth on our bench. Those nine get out there and work really hard. They’re coming along. I’m impressed.”

The Lady Tigers (1-5, 0-2 3A West Region) are back in action at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday when they host Parker (3-2), while Kingman (2-1, 1-0) looks to keep it rolling on the road Tuesday at Chino Valley (2-1).

“I love coming out of tournaments, especially when we’re coming into region games because hopefully we have a good rhythm,” Lee said. “We definitely have some confidence about us. We do play Chino Tuesday and they’re one heck of a ball team. So that’s going to be a tough game. But we’re playing well right now, so I’m excited.”

COCA-COLA CLASSIC

QUARTERFINALS

Kingman 13, Laughlin 1

Lake Havasu 17, Tuba City 1

Academy 6, Lee Williams 2

Window Rock 12, Parker 0

SEMIFINALS

Lake Havasu 8, Kingman 0

Window Rock 6, Academy 5

3RD-PLACE GAME

Kingman 7, Academy 3

CHAMPIONSHIP

Window Rock 9, Lake Havasu 8

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