The Carson Comets scratched and fought for more than seven hours on Saturday in the scorching sun at Centennial Park.
When it was over, the stress of playing four straight games took its toll on the Comets, whose scrappy 16-and-under club was knocked off by the Nevada Lightning 10-3 in the finals of the NSA State Championships.
The Comets finished with a 2-2 record. The Lightning went 2-0, both wins coming against Carson. Earlier in the tournament, the Lightning posted a 7-1 win.
"Given the conditions, and having to play in the sun and wind, I thought the kids did a great job," said John Grant, the Comets' assistant coach. "There was no quit in them. They showed a lot of grit.
"The Lightning has a tough team. They hit the ball well and played great defense. I thought we had a real good summer."
Carson managed only four hits in the title game - one each by Abby Rankl, Cassie Vondrak, Desiree Clampett and Candice Rutledge.
The grit Grant referred to earlier was the Comets' sensational rallies against the Crusaders. Twice, Carson came back from deficits to knock them off.
The first comeback came in the tournament's opening round. Trailing 7-3, the Comets exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning to take the lead en route to a 10-7 victory.
Tamra Stevens and K.J. Harris led Carson with two hits each. Casci went 1 for 3 with three RBI thanks to a two-run double and sacrifice fly. Rankl, Becca Reed, Vondrak, Clampett and Rutledge all collected a hit.
Carson's bats were silenced in their second game, managing just four hits against the Lightning. Three second-inning runs proved too much for Carson to overcome.
Carson's only run came in the fourth when Stevens tripled to center and scored on Vondrak's single. The Comets loaded the bases later in the inning, but stranded all three runners.
In the rematch with the Crusaders, Carson trailed 6-5, but struck for five runs late in the game to win 10-6. Two errors, a two-run passed ball and a bases-loaded walk were big plays in the inning.
12-UNDER A DIVISION
The Carson Valley Hurricane beat the Reno Heat 13-8 to capture the tournament title at Centennial Park.
The Hurricane opened the tournament with a 4-3 win its first game and followed with an 8-6 win over the Rail City Smoke, setting the stage for the title contest.
"All in all, considering we were missing our shortstop, we pulled together great," Hurricane coach David Cole said. "The key was that we were able to keep coming back and scoring runs when they had runs scored on them."
Becky McConnell's bases-loaded single in the seventh inning was the pivotal blow of the opening win, and Kenzie Cole pitched a nice a game. Mia Townsell had a key two-run hit against Rail City.
Coach Cole praised the work of catcher Naomi Roberts, who caught all three games in blistering heat.
The tournament win was the first this year for the Hurricane.
14-UNDER A DIVISION
The Carson Valley Hurricanes didn't last long in the tournament, losing two straight games.
In the opener against the Nevada Lightning, the Hurricane made three errors in the bottom of the fifth which enabled the Lightning to snap a 3-all tie and take a 6-3 lead en route to a 6-5 victory.
Carson Valley made it interesting in the top of the sixth, scoring twice on a double by Mackenize Cauley (2 for 3), two errors and a single by Danyelle Heidt. The Hurricane moved the tying run to third and the winning run to second, but failed to capitalize.
Stephanie Harper, Katrina Morgan, Alicia Merrell and Donna Judd all had hits in a losing effort.
The Hurricanes were eliminated by the Diamonds, 8-2, behind the six-hit pitching of Kate Pinder.
Lauren Hoppe led the Diamonds with three hits and Amanda Webster added two safeties. Merrell led the Hurricanes with a triple and single.
12-UNDER B DIVISION
The Carson Sharks had a rough day at the plate in posting a 1-2 record at Edmonds Sports Complex.
The Sharks opened with an 8-4 loss to the Las Vegas Bobcats and stayed alive with a 9-0 win over Walker River in an elimination game behind the four-hit pitching of Kelly Withrow. The Predators, based in Reno, sent the Sharks packing with a 4-2 win.
In the win over Walker River, Withrow led the offense with a 3 for 4 effort. Elayna Shine and Lindsay Burroughs added two hits apiece.
Against the Predators, Withrow was touched for all four runs in the first two innings before settling down.
Christina Gallegos singled in the Sharks' first run in the fourth. In the seventh, the Sharks made it 4-2 thanks to an error. With runners at first and third, the Predators finally retired the side.
14-UNDER B DIVISION
The Carson Sharks rode the strong right arm of Thera Frank to victory in a 2-0 opening-round win over the Fallon Rockets and a 5-4 extra-inning win over the Predators.
The Sharks, who played both games at Centennial Park, will play in the title game today at 3 at Edmonds Sports Complex.
Trailing 3-0 in the sixth, the Sharks got a homer from Melissa Wilson to break the shutout. Mel Puentes tied the game with a two-out single in the seventh and Hannah Shaw won the game in the eighth with a base hit.
Frank had to be at her best in the opener best because her teammates managed just five hits. Frank pitched a one-hitter, fanned 10 and retired the last 20 batters she faced after allowing a first-inning single.
Frank singled in her team's first run in the bottom of the first and a wild pitch in the fifth allowed the second run to score. Daria Leid went 2-for-3, including a double and single. Katie McEwen, Melissa Wilson and Loretta Cagle added a hit each.
10-UNDER B DIVISION
The Carson Sharks knocked off the Rail City Smoke 11-1 in a game stopped in the fourth inning because of the 10-run rule. The Sharks played at 8 p.m., but results were unavailable at press time.
Coral Nash allowed just a second-inning run and breezed through the Smoke batting order.
Carson scored five in the first and added two runs in the second, third and fourth innings. Maddie Saarem had a key two-run single in the second, and leadoff hitter Emily Collins added two hits. Tiffany Patrick and Megan Barrette each had run-scoring singles.