The thermometer was an unyielding opponent in the USA Softball Idaho State Championships during the weekend.
Temperatures of 100-degrees-plus in Boise and Caldwell, and mid-90s in Spokane gave a huge advantage to teams in the winner’s bracket. Lose and you’re tacking on a minimum of two more games in that heat.
“That was the key,” said Spokane Diamonds coach Fuzzy Buckenberger, whose team rode the pitching of Jesse Dupuis and a balanced attack to a 5-0 record and the 16U championship in Boise. “If you got into the loser’s bracket, you were in trouble. I was coaching third and I wasn’t doing anything and I was sweating. I was feeling for the young ladies.”
In only one of five age divisions – the 12U in Boise – did a team come out of the loser’s bracket to force an extra game. That was the Spokane Mudhens, who saw an eight-game winning streak snapped by Idaho Crossfire from Eagle 19-9 in the championship game. The Mudhens played 10, going 8-2; Crossfire was 5-1.
Mudhens had lost 4-3 to Crossfire in the second round Saturday morning, then won three games Saturday and five on Sunday, including 13-7 over Crossfire to force the “if-necessary” game.
“Jesse was outstanding,” Buckenberger said of Dupuis.
In 32 innings in the five games, the Mt. Spokane senior struck out 49, allowed just 16 hits and four walks.
She joined with Meghan Keene (Shadle Park), whose three-run home run in the sixth inning secured the championship game win; Macey Finch (Rogers); Abby Brake (East Valley); and Carolynn Wendle (Mead) who all hit .400-plus during the weekend to augment Dupus’ pitching.
North Idaho Xtreme-Craig from Hayden tied for seventh in the 16U division.
The Spokane-North Idaho-based USA Explosion-Smith went 4-0, outscoring its opponents 53-13, in winning the 18U championship in Caldwell. It defeated the Idaho Crush from Boise 13-1 in the title game. Reapers from Spokane Valley placed fifth.
USA Explosion from Nampa won the 14U division in Spokane, going 6-0 and defeating Idaho Flash from Meredian 12-6 in the championship game. The highest finishing area teams were Lewis Clark Lightning from Lewiston, which was fourth, and Spokane Diamonds-Wuesthoff, which tied for fifth.
Magic Valley Griz won the 10U division in Caldwell in which there were no area teams.
- USA Explosion-Hecker from Spokane Valley tied for fifth in the Washington 18U A/B state tournament in Kitsap County and 10U Heat Fastpitch from Warden went 5-0 and won the 10U A/B in Lacey for the best finishes for area teams in Washington state tournaments.
The Spokane Sounders ’01 16U girls team advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV (West) Championships the last weekend in June in Redmond, Washington.
The Washington State Cup champion Sounders dropped a 2-1 decision to Celtic Premier from Utah on a penalty shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw. Kendall Houston’s goal in the 74th minute forced what turned out to be a scoreless overtime.
After going 1-1-1 in the preliminary round, Sounders won their quarterfinal 1-0 over Rebels Elite from California on a Chelse Le goal in the 67th minute.
The Idaho State Cup champion Sting Timbers FC 17U girls team from Coeur d’Alene went 0-3 and didn’t advance out of the preliminary round.
Celtic went on to win the division and qualify for the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships July 24-30 in Frisco, Texas.