7/5/2013 6:00:00 AM ASA state tournament begins here today Kingman teams hope home field works to their advantage
Kingman Sidewinders catcher Juanita Cooper looks to apply the tag on a Yuma Desert Diamonds runner during the third inning of last year’s tournament. The Sidewinders took second in the tournament and will look for more wins this year when they open play at 5 p.m. today. RODNEY HAAS/Miner
KINGMAN - Kingman will host 24 softball teams beginning today as the Amateur Softball Association Class B state tournament gets underway at Centennial Park.
The number is down from last year's 28 teams, but nevertheless the tournament is expected to provide an economic boost to the city.
"It's puts heads in beds. It puts people in restaurants. It's very good for Kingman," said Karen Fogg, administrative assistant with the Kingman Park and Recreation Department.
The tournament will be comprised of three divisions: 10-and-under, 12-and-under and 16-and-under. There was supposed to be a 14-and-under, but that division was scrapped when too few teams signed up.
Kingman will have a team in each division, including Kingman Krush in the 10U and 12U division and the Kingman Sidewinders in the 16U. They took second in last year's tournament.
"We are very excited for the state tournament in Kingman," said Sidewinders manager Jodi Lee. "We feel we have a good chance to have a good showing."
Pitchers Danni Lee and Natalie Borgens and position players Taylor Olivas and Juanita Cooper will look to play key roles for the Sidewinders. But they can't do it alone.
"To have a repeat performance, we need Elisa Santos and Avery Lee to have a good tournament," Lee said.
The Sidewinders will open the tournament at 5 p.m. against the AZ Hornets. The 10U Krush will open the tourney at 7:45 against the Tucson Scramblers while the 12U Krush will begin play at 5 p.m. against Lil Badgers.
"It's nice for them to play before the home crowd," said Krush softball coordinator Butch Finkbeiner. "It is disappointing because there are no 14U teams, so it makes it tough for those teams."
Finkbeiner said some teams that were scheduled to play in the 14U division moved up and will be playing in the 16U division.
Teams will compete in pool play today before starting a double-elimination bracket on Saturday. The championship games are scheduled for Sunday.