Payson Cougars senior softball team player-manager Abe Yamada is not disappointed with his squad's 14-13 tournament championship loss to Robson Ranch.
The skipper's lack of chagrin is mostly because the Rim Country seniors, a class B team, was beaten by a AAA team.
"It was a tough loss, but hold on -- how and why were they placed in the B division?" Yamada said. "Where is the fairness, who let this happen?"
Those questions were never answered by Fountain Hills Great Fair Tournament officials, but Yamada and his teammates are resigned to the tough defeat.
"Regardless, they won and that's the way it stood," Yamada said. "I am proud to say there were no sour grapes on the Cougars team after the loss.
"We just enjoy playing softball, and to lose by only one run to a AAA team was awesome."
In the two-day tournament, which opened Feb. 25 in Fountain Hills, the Cougars compiled a first round 3-1 record to advance to the championship bracket as a No. 2 seed, Yamada said.
In the first game, the Rim Country cats won a 16-14 decision over the Tucson Cowboys.
"They eliminated us in last year's tournament by a score of 12-0," Yamada said. "This year, we sharpened our claws and went to work with vengeance in mind.
"It became a see-saw battle, but when the smoked cleared we had taken the bacon."
With the win, the Cougars advanced to the championship game against the undefeated Robson squad.
"We were neck and neck with the Ranch, leading by two runs in the fifth inning and losing the lead in the sixth," Yamada said.
Although the Cougars played what Yamada called "a tremendous defensive ball game," the Payson team couldn't muster enough firepower to push winning runs across the plate.
Following the game, the Cougar seniors were besieged by well wishers.
"Being met by our wives and friends saying, ‘You guys played a great game,' was the type of support that gave us a feeling of exhilaration," Yamada said.