COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Explosion fought hard in the American Softball Association national tournament but finally lost in the loser's bracket to come back to Washington Friday.
The Explosion's loss came to the Sand Hill Slammers, from South Carolina. The Explosion led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh - and the Slammers answered with a triple and no outs, followed by a ‘funky spin' and score, to end their tournament hopes.
But coach Jay Fox said the Explosion should be proud.
"They have nothing to hang their heads about," he said.
The tournament started with 165 teams. By the time the Explosion started their last game, just 17 were still standing. They were also the last Pacific Northwest team on the Texas fields.
The Explosion played three games Friday. They won the first, against the Oregon Comets, 4-3.
Wa-Hi's Hope Klicker pitched the first six innings and Kamiakin's Lindsey Kamphius relieved her. Connell's Shanika Sawyer caught.
The Explosion had seven hits in in the win. Klicker and Kamphius had one hit and one RBI each, Wai-Hi's Libbie Jimenez had one hit, Hanford's Remy Bradley had two, Sawyer had one hit and two RBI and Prosser's Kenzie Cook had one.
They played again a few hours later, posting a 5-1 win over the Toledo Heat. Kamphius pitched the whole game, throwing to Kamiakin's Jess Miracle.
The Explosion out-hit the Heat, 8-4. Bradley had three hits and two RBI, Jimenez had two hits and one RBI, Klicker had one hit and one RBI, and Kamphius and Wa-Hi's Kendsey Hill had one hit apiece.
But it was the last game of the day that ended their tournament hopes. The Explosion were up, 2-1, until the bottom of the fourth, when the batter hit a ground ball back to Klicker, who pitched the first five innings. Klicker's throw to Jimenez, at first base, wobbled - and Jimenez fell. The runner was called safe.
The next batter singled, and the first runner came home to tie the game.
The score stood until the bottom of the seventh, when the Slammers led with a triple.
Kamphius, who relieved Klicker, sat the next two batters down and had two strikes on the fourth batter, but her third pitch hit the bat just right, sending the ball into a ‘funky' spin, according to Fox, and the runner on third came in to score.
"It's a tough way to go out," Fox said.
The OC Batbusters, who dropped the Explosion into the loser's bracket, had 10-runned all of the teams through Saturday morning, said parent Mike Jimenez.
The Explosion lost to the Batbusters, 5-1. They were the only team not mercy-ruled through Saturday morning, he said.
Jimenez said the coach came by and told the Washington parents that he expected to see them in Sunday's championship.
The Batbusters were national champions in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
"They've had championships, they're a legit team and they definitely thought we had the goods to make it through to Sunday," Jimenez said. "That was pretty cool."
The girls also improved through the tournament, according to Fox.
"The girls started the tournament really not taking advantage of base runners," Fox said. "It seemed like they got on a nice run into the last game, and even in the last game, it came down to one late play. The girls came through when we had base runners on against the Comets and Toledo, so it was definitely nice to see that happen."
The loss ends the Explosion's summer softball season.