66°F
weather icon Clear

Pahrump Little Leaguers open district play Saturday in Las Vegas

Ask Kayne Horibe about his confidence level going into this weekend’s District 4 Tournament, and you get a very reasonable response.

“Fifty-fifty,” said Horibe, an 11-year-old catcher and shortstop for the Pahrump Little League All-Stars, who open district play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Family Rainbow Park in Las Vegas.

Horibe wasn’t suggesting he and his teammates aren’t very good, but he, like several other Pahrump players, has been in the district tournament before and knows how tough the competition can be.

“First year, we got out right away, second year we got up to, I want to say fourth, and I don’t know about this year,” Horibe said. “I think we have a chance.”

Manager Stephen Whitney has been coaching kids for 20 years, and this will be his second time coaching in an all-star tournament.

“They are chosen by a draft after the championship for the regular season,” Whitney said before the team took the field Monday at Ian Deutch Memorial Park for a practice. “The youngest one is 10, and a majority of them are 11 but league-age 12. Most of them have tournament experience, some at this level, some at the younger kids level.”

The team is for players aged 10 to 12, the age group on television in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, each August. The teams who play there started their journey the same way Pahrump’s players are starting, with local district tournaments. Whitney said he and his kids have been watching Williamsport games for years, and most of his players have a lot of experience, despite their young ages.

Horibe said he has been playing for about six years, the same as infielder Sergio Gonzalez. Both have played on previous all-star teams.

Gonzalez, 11, plays third base and first base but said he prefers third because there’s more action, as well as the chance to show off his arm, which he said is a strength. “We’re good at fielding,” he said.

“Defense is a strength,” Whitney agreed. “That’s how I chose my kids for the all-star team. Throughout the regular season all of these kids played great defense. That’s pretty much what we work on throughout the season. You need to defend the ball before you can score.”

Pitching and defense is a familiar mantra in baseball, and it’s no different on this team.

“We have eight pitchers for sure,” Whitney said. “That was another thing we focused on. Defense and pitching will be the key to success.”

Another Whitney, 11-year-old Vinny, is important to both tasks, as he moved behind the plate this season.

“I like throwing people out,” said Vinny Whitney, who, despite his small frame, said he is not concerned about bigger players barreling into him trying to score. He also pitches and claims seven or eight years of baseball experience.

These kids start young.

“A lot of them have been playing for quite a few years,” Stephen Whitney said. “We do have a lot of potential.”

It’s likely he would know, considering the years he has spent around diamonds. “Right after I stopped playing baseball, I started coaching in Northern Nevada with a friend,” he said.

Pahrump opens tournament play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday against Western. A win sends them into a 5 p.m. Sunday game against Red Rock, which has a Saturday bye, while a loss lands them in a 7:30 p.m. Sunday elimination game against the loser of Saturday’s game between Summerlin South and Lone Mountain. The 10-team tournament’s championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 13.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Tom Rysinski: Football’s zebra herd needs some thinning

Criticizing officials who work high school games is not something I enjoy doing. They’re not making a fortune, they put up with a lot, and you really have to love doing it to devote so much time and energy to it. And in most sports there is a shortage of them. So criticizing them is usually inappropriate.

NHP provides update on Nye bus crash investigation

The Nevada Highway Patrol released new findings on the Sept. 5 crash involving a school bus carrying the Pahrump Valley High School junior varsity football team, a nighttime Highway 160 construction zone wreck that injured at least four on the bus.

Pahrump Valley Sports Roundup: Volleyball team sweeps Del Sol

Junior Nicky Velazquez finished with 11 kills and 7 digs Wednesday to lead the Pahrump Valley High School girls volleyball team to a dominating three-set win over Del Sol in Las Vegas.

Dan Simmons’ Sportsman’s quest: Exploring the Legends of the Lake

Nevada always has been the land of legends, mysteries and adventures. When it comes to fishing, it’s no different, as I discovered at Pyramid Lake, a short distance north of Reno.

Trojans Football Notebook: McGhee needs surgery

The 20-18 loss to Boulder City on Friday night was not the worst news for the Pahrump Valley High School football team in the past week.

Pahrump Sports Roundup: Seven Sharks win cross country medals

Seventh-grader Ryleigh Denton finished the 1.7-mile course at the Clark County Fairgrounds in 12 minutes, 32 seconds to place fifth and lead the Rosemary Clarke Middle School girls cross country team to a second-place finish Saturday in the Moapa Valley Invitational.

Nye County kids can win spot in Las Vegas Lights FC soccer clinic

Children ages 8 through 12 are eligible to enter a contest for a chance to participate in the Amazingly Fabulous Completely Unbelievable youth soccer clinic run presented by America First Credit Union and run by Las Vegas Lights FC coaches and players.

Football: Beatty makes it look easy in opener

With his football team’s opener canceled because of Round Mountain’s roster issues, Beatty High School senior Fabian Perez took advantage of the night off, opting to scout Mountain View Christian a week before the Hornets were scheduled to play the Saints.