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home : sports : local June 29, 2015

7/12/2013 1:37:00 PM
Kingman Little League team scared to play in Blythe
By Rodney Haas
Kingman Daily Miner

KINGMAN - Because of reported threats against Kingman's team, the District 9 15-16 All Star Tournament's championship game was delayed and moved from Blythe Thursday.

The gist of the threats was that if Kingman won the game against Blythe, they'd need to be armed or have a police escort to get out of town, according to Kingman manager Rick Ogborn. Donna West, the District 9 administrator, and Oscar Lopez, Kingman South Little League president, confirmed the account.

"That may be rumored. I don't know if that is fact. That's just going with the texting between everybody, but that's basically what it is," Ogborn said. "Somebody called somebody else and threatened that if we win tonight that we would need a police escort out of town."

Whether it was rumor or not, it was taken seriously after Lopez heard the same thing from parents staying in Blythe. He emailed West, who contacted Little League's Western regional office in San Bernardino, Calif., who later contacted Little League headquarters in Williamsport, Pa.

"I'm getting different stories. I was not there. I don't know who to believe," West said. "Kingman is telling me that they don't feel safe going there. I relayed that to Western Regional and Western Regional relayed it to headquarters and headquarters came back and said move the tournament."

West sent an email Thursday afternoon saying the game will be played

Saturday in Yuma. Kingman advanced to the championship game Tuesday night with a win over Mohave Valley while Blythe eliminated Mohave on Wednesday.

West tried to get the pitching frozen but she said headquarters denied her request. Because of this, a Blythe pitcher who pitched Wednesday but wouldn't have been available for a Thursday's game will be available for Saturday's game.

"The teams are going to have to accept it. Otherwise the game won't be played and it's done. That's the best I can do," West said. "That's all I'm trying to do. I'm trying to satisfy everybody, but at the same time everybody is not going to be satisfied."

West said if the game is not played, then District 9 won't send a team to the state tournament that begins Tuesday in Prescott.

The change of venue and the unfrozen pitch counts didn't sit well with Ogborn.

"Why we are we being punished because Blythe has a problem with everybody?"

Ogborn said. "There is no reason. We are ahead of the tournament. They should have to play like it was Thursday. We play whatever the pitchers should be frozen. Blythe has the problem. I'm not saying we can't go in there and still beat them. They shouldn't have that advantage. We didn't do anything wrong. Pitching is huge. If you burn the pitchers in any tournament, it's tougher to win the tournament.

"It's just ridiculous."

Lopez, who stayed in Kingman to run the junior 13-14 All Star Tournament at Southside Park, said he heard reports of fireworks being thrown at players, obscenities being hurled and unruly fans.

"The thing about it is that Kingman hasn't even faced Blythe yet," Lopez said. "Kingman played Mohave Valley and I guess some of the Blythe players showed up at the game and were making comments to both teams. What the comments were I have no idea. But I guess they were exchanging words."

According to Blythe League president Valerie Rivera, the firework incident

came from kids playing with fireworks at the adjacent skate park and the kids had no affiliation with the Little League tournament.

As far as reports of threats being made towards the Kingman team, Rivera said it was hearsay.

"I'm disappointed as far as the tournament being moved," Rivera said. "It's all just hearsay to comment on it. They are going to pull a tournament because of a thrown firework incident from the skate park on the other side of the fence?"

According to West, this isn't the first instance that District 9 has had problems with Blythe teams. Last month at the 11-12 All Star tournament. West said a parent had to be escorted out of the park by an officer with the Bullhead City Police Department and a coach was later ejected from a game.

As for Kingman, during the 10-11 tournament at Southside Park there were some issues with Kingman fans and coaches feeling that Blythe showed poor sportsmanship after Blythe continued to steal bases despite being up by 20 runs. There also was a complaint from a Blythe parent who said they were told they were not welcome to watch the Kingman South and North game because they were from Blythe.

"I don't think it stems from that," Lopez said of any possible issues regarding the 10-11 tournament. "I know that we've had quite a few issues in the past from tournaments being held in Blythe. I know a Kingman team had to get escorted out of the ballpark area by the police because rocks were being thrown and windows were being broken and stuff like that."

West is finishing her first full year as district administrator. Before that, she spent a number of years as a Little League president in Yuma and has been involved with Little League for the past 25 years.

However, this year she said she has had more problems with parents than before and it's something that she has vowed to correct next year.

"I've had more parents escorted out by police this year, which is ridiculous," West said. "How do you educate the parents? To me, that's up to the leagues to educate their parents. You have something for them - a class, a parent meeting, a slide show, however they do it - something needs to be done and that's going to be addressed when we start our new season."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2013
Article comment by: Was an umpire Was an umpire

In response to "Really Blythe" who claims that the board, coaches and umpires all need to be replaced with people of good morals and character that need to be willing to step up and take charge. Do you have any idea how many "volunteer" hours these people put in so that their community can have a little league? I didn't think so. So let me ask you this how many "volunteer" hours did you put in this year as a board member, coach or umpire? Tell the truth honest.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: It's Little League!

Quite trying to compete with the problems at the hospital, city and the college. It's little league for pete's sake! Let the kids play ball and stop getting up into their business. Nothing but drama in B-town!

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Sonhia Garrett

@Crazy Town If I am wrong about the Kingman team reporting cell phone threats then I stand corrected, as I understand it was the Kingman team that reported this ,then I stand my ground and I stand behind OUR Basebal lteam.These boys have played a long time together thur the years and they are good boys, not gun toting street frighting thuds they was (AND BLYTHE) made them out to be. I cannot believe BLYTHE did not stand up for our boys How dare you tell me I am not helping the situation, the only thing I am doing is showing our team support and believing in them .I would like to see some of the so called cell phone threats and I also would like to know how they had time and phone numbers to make this threats

Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Article comment by: Crazy Town

@Sonhia, comments like yours are not helping. You should have just congratulated the Blythe team for showing sportsmanship and congratulated Kingman for winning. It's no wonder the kids(both sides, I'm sure) do what they do.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Sonhia Garrett

I would like to thank the Blythe Baseball players for their sportsmanship and for presenting class on the field after all the remarks Kingman made about them and our town. Blythe is proud of our teams. I haven't heard any whinning or lies spread about bad sportsmanship BECAUSE Kingman won the championship game.You showed class all the way and in the end it will be rewarded. Again Thank You Blythe Boys and Girls

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Peace Be Still

This is ludicrious. Where are all the adults and how is that we folded to the bullying? Come on adults take control.

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Donna West

Congratulations to Kingman LL for winning the District 9 Senior District tournament.

The night started out well and a great game was being played by both teams.

Near the end of the game their was some chirping going on but some is to be expected it is a championship game to move on to state

I asked the parents politely to be civil at the end of the game no matter the outcome. Both teams were asked to please show good sportsmanship by shaking hands/high five etc at the end of the game. Everyone did and I truly appreciate that. Thank You!

I would like to thank everyone from Blythe and Kingman for representing their leagues in a very positive manner while in Yuma.

Great job to both teams!

Thank you,
Donna West
District 9 Administrator

Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Article comment by: Donna West

I would like Blythe to please accept my apology for the mistake I made in my comment. I had said that Kingman won. MY APOLOGIES BLYTHE. BLYTHE WON 7-6.

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Teniente

Well played Kingman, well played. Who would want to play a championship game on the opposing teams home turf? Open your eyes people. Don't fall for this garbage. Either way, they will get what was supposedly promised. AN ___ KICKING! (on the field, of course)

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: just me

Good report...Wishing you boy's the best tonight...Play fair and play to win...How ever it goes win or lose be good sports keep your heads up and come home with a smile....

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2013
Article comment by: @Donna West

Are you sure Kingman won the game? I was told Blythe won 7-6.

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Donna West

Despite of all the hearsay and hoopla the game that took place on Saturday evening between Blythe and Kingman was a great game. Very intense at times because the score was tied or close NOT because of any problems.
All of the parents showed great support for their teams and the players did what they do best played ball.
Kingman won the game Saturday night to tie the series up the final game will be played Monday 7pm in Yuma.
I expect the same behavior as witnessed Saturday night by all no matter what the outcome of the game is.
All of these players gave their best and are winners. Lets finish the Little League way with fair play, good sportsmanship, and class.
See you on the field!

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: Blythe Little League

I have been volunteering at the park and for the little league for the past three years. Of coarse, there are those people that just love to whine and gripe. But also there are the very truthfully people. And they know who they are. But for this to be happening? True or not, how in this little town, would our kids have or get kingmans numbers? Like honestly, do you really think those kids are gonna need an escort? C'mon now! These parents and people of Blythe need to grow up! There are those good coaches and there are those others. Truthfully, if this happened, it should have been handled then and there. Not where rumors start, than everyone just loves to think all the negativity that comes to mind... Bullcrap if you ask me.. ALL of these coaches and people causing all of this need to take a break. Hand it over to someone else. Maybe this League would come to peace..

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: @ Really Blythe

Had they had a better defensive catcher with a good strong throwing arm, a lot of outs could have been made..Stealing bases is part of the game...You call hit and run..A game is not official until 4 complete innings are played...If Blythe beat them that bad in the four innings ...Oh well...there can only be one winner...

Posted: Sunday, July 14, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ Really Blythe. You have thrown these kids under the bus even before you have tried to find out the truth.

@ Just Me. I hope so. Because this has been blown way out of proportion by the Kingman team. Since they reported this to headquarters. Is this not against the law now. If any of this is the truth?? So the investigation has to start here in Blythe. Since they say that these threats originated here in Blythe.

So Mr Mayor get the Chief off his planned Retirement Mode and get him to work. Make him earn those tax dollars before he leaves. I believe it's making terrorist threats against someone. Those would be the Charges filed.

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