PRESCOTT — For Farmers Insurance of Prescott, it’s one title down and one to go.
On Saturday, June 2, undefeated Prescott Little League Majors city champ Farmers begins its quest for an Arizona District 10 Majors Tournament of Champions crown at Williams Little League’s Cureton Park, North Grand Canyon Boulevard, in Williams.
Farmers (15-0 overall record), which registered an 11-1 run-ruled win over Holdsworth-Chadd Fuller in the city semifinals and a 3-2 victory in eight innings over Kiwanis in the city championship last week, faces Valley Pump of Chino Valley at 9 a.m. Saturday in the eight-team TOC’s quarterfinals.
If Farmers beats Valley Pump in the new single-elimination TOC, the former would battle the winner of the Williams-Verde Valley quarterfinal (11:30 a.m.) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the semis. Valley Pump (10-1) plays one more league game tonight, May 31, although it has already sewn up the Chino Valley LL title.
The winner of the lower bracket takes on the victor of the upper bracket for the TOC championship at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 3.
In the upper bracket, Wickenburg-Agua Fria and Prescott Valley-Camp Verde open the TOC with quarterfinals contests at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively, on Friday, June 1. The upper bracket semifinal is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday. In the Prescott Valley Little League championship last week, Team Hunt (11-3) edged Team Dunn, 2-1, to advance.
What follows are capsules for the tri-city area teams in this year’s TOC, including Prescott (Farmers), Prescott Valley (Team Hunt) and Chino Valley (Valley Pump). None of the tournament teams were seeded. Instead, quarterfinal pairings were drawn.
PRESCOTT (Farmers Insurance)
Manager: Terry Magnett
2018 Record: 15-0 (includes city championship)
TOC Opening Game: 9 a.m. Saturday vs. Chino Valley (quarterfinals) at Cureton Park in Williams
Key Players: Zane Gaul, 11, RHP/1B (power pitcher/Top 3 hitter); Ryan Elliott, 12, RHP/SS (location pitcher with two wins in city tournament/Top 3 hitter); Colton Champion, 10, OF; Jacob Patterson, 11, C; Luke Mason, 12, 1B/OF (Top 3 hitter); Cooper Magnett, 11, 2B; Tristan McKown, 12, P/3B (Top 3 pitcher)
Manager’s Take: “We’re going to have our hands full if it’s a real strong pitcher [such as Chino Valley lefthander Connor Peterson]. I know [Chino Valley manager] Adam [Schuster], and I know he’ll have his guys prepared. They’re solid, top to bottom, and they’re well coached by Adam. We’re going to do everything we can to get that first one because that could very well be as tough of a game as we’ll play the whole tournament.
“The boys have done everything us coaches have asked of them. They have practiced and prepared so hard, and our motto is, ‘Get better every practice. Get better every game.’ They’ve done that all year long.”
PRESCOTT VALLEY (Team Hunt)
Manager: Stephen Hunt
2018 Record: 11-3 (includes town championship)
TOC Opening Game: 8 p.m. Friday vs. Camp Verde (quarterfinals) at Cureton Park in Williams
Key Players: Kishan Patel, 12, RHP/SS (leadoff hitter); Mason Hunt, 12, 1B/P; Josiah “Eual” Williamson, 12, C; Brayden Munday, 11, 2B; Easton Fowler, 12, 3B/P
Manager’s Take: “Really, our infield’s been the key all season, with Mason at first, Brayden at second, Kishan at short, Easton at third, and Eual at catcher. Our Top 6 hitters have all been very consistent all season long. That’s really the core. I don’t know anything about the teams we’re playing — this is the first season for me. If we show up and do all the little things right, we’ll be tough to beat. I’m proud of everybody. We’ve got kids who have never played before making game-winning hits.”
CHINO VALLEY (Valley Pump)
Manager: Adam Schuster
2018 Record: 10-1 (as of May 30)
TOC Opening Game: 9 a.m. Saturday vs. Prescott (quarterfinals) at Cureton Park in Williams
Key Players: Connor Peterson, 12, LHP (ace pitcher; 20-1/3 IP, 47 K’s); Ivan Schuster, 11, C/P/SS; Angelo Lynch, 11, P/IF (hits for average; strong pitcher); Blake Roskopf, 10, P (hits for average; strong pitcher).
Key Injury: John Harris, 12, C/cleanup hitter (out for postseason; broke arm May 25 at practice)
Manager’s Take: “I know that those [Farmers Insurance of Prescott] kids are fundamentally sound and very well coached, so we’re going to bring in our best and see if we can get by them. Losing my catcher [Harris] was huge, and he’ll definitely be missed. I talk to [Farmers manager] Terry [Magnett] weekly, so I text him and we’re good friends. Connor Peterson will most likely take the mound [against Prescott].
“We started out with 11 [roster players] and now I’m down to 10. It’s definitely been a team effort, and everybody does their job when they’re called upon. That’s why you get to where we are. Last year, same thing.”
Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.