Bud Dezern was nervous. So nervous that he felt like his legs were shaking, and he didn't mind a bit.
"I hit the first pitch. I couldn't let it go. I was so nervous," Dezern said after his game-winning grand slam home run. His blast to left field carried Calimesa, Calif., WC Monsta A to a McQuade Softball Tournament title.
Dezern's four-run shot capped an 11-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning that carried Monsta A past its companion team, Calimesa WC Monsta Super, 20-17 at the Clem Kelley diamond complex.
Monsta A's win in the winner-take-all championship game was its second of the day. Sunday morning Monsta A defeated Bismarck Hearland Investors in a losers' bracket semifinal. Monsta A dropped into the losers' bracket via a 36-32 extra-inning loss to Monsta Super on Saturday.
Dezern's grand slam was the second round-tripper of the inning. LaCurtis Mayes got the comeback rolling with a three-run blast to cut the deficit to 17-12.
Eleven home runs sailed out of diamond 8, six by Monsta Super and five by Monsta A. Lee Payne and Travis Houseman each cleared the fence twice. Payne finished 3-for-3 with a double, two homers and five RBIs.
Dezern, who is 22, played baseball at Mt. San Jacinto Junior College. He's in his second year of softball and his first on the Monsta A tournament team.
Even though Monsta A was down eight runs to a national championship team, Dezern felt a victory was still within reach.
"With these bats (in the Monsta A lineup), anthing is possible. We played them last night and took them to extra innings," Dezern said. "That game was supposed to be a blowout."
That's because Monsta A is kind of a little brother or JV team to Monsta Super. Sunday's victory was Monsta A's first in three meetings with Monsta Super.
When those two teams clash, it's not a blood and guts rivalry.
"We're all friends. The majority of us are from California," Dezern noted. "At the end of the day, Monsta still wins. We're here to represent Monsta. ... It was a lot of fun. Everyone was happy. It was a very good day."
Team Grind hadn't won a tournament this season, so the Wahpeton club wasn't about to let a McQuade championship slip away.
After going 3-0 to emerge as the last unbeaten in the tournament, Team Grind stumbled, losing 17-15 to Bismarck Moritz Sport and Marine, the survivor of the losers' bracket.
No worries, mate. Wahpeton turned around and buried Moritz 20-6 in the second title game, plating six runs in the seventh inning for emphasis.
Team Grind handed Moritz its first setback on Saturday, taking a 19-8 decision in the matchup of the final two unbeatens.
With the McQuade championship, the Wahpeton team broke a string of three straight runner-up finishes at Shakopee, Minn.; Sioux Falls, S.D., and Cambridge, Minn. And last year Team Grind was the McQuade runner-up to Las Vegas, Nev., HTSYC in its first season together.
With all the championship game appearance in her team's wake, Team Grind manager Brittany Marohl was optimistic about the McQuade tournament.
"We had all the confidence we could do it," she said.
Marohl said her team has a history with Moritz.
"We go back and forth with them. We've played them four times (this season) and we've won three of the four," she said.