Fri, Dec. 06

State Tournament goes on without Verde Valley
Verde Valley suffers back-to-back losses and heads home after exciting week

The 10-11 Verde Valley Little League All-Star team made a great run at State, but Saturday and Monday's games didn't go their way and after four games at State, they said good-bye to the season with a 2-2 record.

Still in Kingman, the Verde Valley team took on the No. 1 ranked team in their pool, Pantano, who got the better of them, 11-6. Pantano started things off with a run in the top of the first. Verde Valley quickly answered back in the bottom of the first with four runs.

Jalin Moore started things off with a single. Herb Tiffany got up and drew a walk to put two runners on. Machado reached on an error by the second baseman. Brett Pinar followed with a single, Cordell McKeever hit a single and then McIlvoy reached on a fielder's choice. Once the dust settled, Verde Valley had tacked four runs onto the scoreboard.

Neither team scored in the second, then in the third Pantano's bats started connecting well and the team took the lead with four runs scored in the inning. The lead was erased when Ruben Cantreras hit a solo home run to make it a 5-5 game after three.

The fourth inning went scoreless by both teams. Then in the top of the fifth, Pantano broke the game wide open with a 6-run inning to take an 11-5 lead.

"They were a great hitting team," said Manager Tim McKeever. "They hit into gaps where we couldn't make the plays. They were a class, great team."

Verde Valley scored one more run in the bottom of the fifth but couldn't get anything else going and suffered its first loss of the tournament.

Brett Pinar started on the mound for Verde Valley and pitched 5-1/3 innings. He had four strikeouts. Cantreras closed the game in for the final two outs on the mound after Pinar ran out of pitches. At the plate, Tiffany went 2-for-3, Machado went 2-for-3 and McIlvoy had a home run.

Refreshed after a day off of the bases, Verde Valley faced Mountain View Monday night. A game that Verde Valley probably should have won went the other way when their bats went cold. Mountain View earned the 7-3 win in six innings.

Machado took the mound and had a solid game with nine strikeouts in 5-1/3 innings. Zane Scott came in and closed things out in the sixth inning.

Neither team scored in the first an second innings. Mountain View stopped the drought when they scored three runs in the top of the third. They added two more runs in the top of the fifth to make it a 5-0 game. Verde Valley came back and scored one when Tiffany started things off with a single. Tiffany advanced to second on a wild pitch and then Machado hit an RBI single to put Verde Valley on the board.

In the top of the sixth, Mountain View continued to pound away and scored two more runs to go up 7-1. Verde Valley tried to rally back but was only able to score two runs. Zane Scott got up and hit a single and Brandon McIlvoy hit a solo home run for the second run of the inning. Verde Valley ran out of outs and lost 7-3.

At the plate, Machado went 3-for-3, Pinar went 2-for-3 and McKeever went 2-for-3.

This team improved significantly from last year's 9-10 All Star team, which didn't even go to state after falling short of the District 10 title. This year the team not only won the District title, but won two games at the State Tournament and finished in the top six overall and with a 2-2 record.

"The kids played great," said McKeever. "I am proud of how they played. It's a long time to be away from home and to stay focused. The team and I would like to thank all of those who supported us, we had to raise a lot of money for this trip and the boys really appreciated it. They had a great time."

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