Originally published Sunday, June 3, 2018 at 06:00a.m.

KINGMAN – The Anderson Ford Diamondbacks will be representing Kingman North Little League in the Minors (8-10) Tournament of Champions starting Monday in Needles, California. The young team gets the chance to showcase its skills against other good teams.

The team played good baseball throughout the regular season, finishing with a record of 9-3-1. First-time coach Eddie Walema is excited for his team to have this experience and was even surprised to get the opportunity.

“We didn’t expect to even be going to this,” Walema said. “We drafted a young team and decided we’ll just go with it.”

And go with it they did. Walema knows the team’s youth is going to be a challenge, but he has faith in their pitching and defensive ability.

“We got some good pitchers and our defense is solid,” Walema said. “We have a lot of young players and first time players.”

Walema wants the kids to enjoy the experience and just have fun no matter what the outcome. The team opens the tournament against the Kingman South Little League team in the first round.

“We had three losses, all against the South teams,” Walema said. “They were really good games we could have won. It should be a good game.”

They play Kingman South at 5 p.m. Monday in Needles and will try to redeem those losses during the regular season.

The winner in the single-elimination tournament advances to the 8-team quarterfinals and meets Mohave Valley at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The team is excited to represent Kingman and the challenge for them will be to play together and believe in themselves.

“They have to believe in themselves and play hard,” Walema said. “Don’t play scared.”