KAYSVILLE, Utah — The girls were just looking to get in some out-of-state competition.
They came home with a trophy.
The Kalispell Emeralds 10U all-star softball team took third place at the USA Softball 10A/12A Fast Pitch Western national championships on Aug. 1-5, winning four games in a blazing-hot weekend.
“We went for the experience, the wins were icing on the cake,” coach Sue Allen said.
The Emeralds split their pool play games, beating the Zombie Hunters of nearby Magna, Utah, 2-1 in the tournament opener before dropping a 12-0 loss to Utah Hot Shotz from South Jordan.
In the first round of the double-elimination bracket, the Emeralds got past West Valley City, Utah’s HeatWave in a 7-5 victory. The win matched them up with Everett, Washington’s Blaze Tenacity, a team they got close with during the week.
Blaze Tenacity edged the Emeralds 3-0 to knock the Kalispell squad to the loser’s bracket.
The next morning, the Emeralds fell behind 6-1 after five innings against the Utah Rush from Weber with time and innings running out to mount a comeback. However, they found a rhythm, roaring back for seven runs in the next two innings to win 8-6.
“We were really excited,” second baseman Zoey Allen said.
The comeback win got the Emeralds into the fourth-place game against the Zombie Hunters, which got close again. The teams ended the time limit tied at 4-4, then went into an international tiebreaker, putting the last out on second base.
The Emeralds scored three runs in the top of the seventh, then held the Zombie Hunters to two runs, advancing with a 7-6 victory.
The Emeralds met Blaze Tenacity one more time in the third place game, losing 5-1 to finish in third place.
Utah Hot Shotz stormed through the championship undefeated, topping Blaze Tenacity 14-1 in the championship game.
“It was very cool, at the end we took a picture with all the teams we met,” Sue Allen said.