XPlosion can't be stopped in quest for success

Following their third-place finish at the Lake Superior Classic, the Minnesota XPlosion U-18 Girls Fastpitch Team is just starting to hit their stride.

Following their third-place finish at the Lake Superior Classic, the Minnesota XPlosion U-18 Girls Fastpitch Team is just starting to hit their stride.

"We still are working on being more consistent," said head coach Ron Tondryk. "Hopefully with the state tournament and national tournament right around the corner we can see that consistency begin to build."

Rachel Tondryk continued to dominate on the mound by pitching the XPlosion to a 6-1 thrashing of the Duluth Sluggers. Tondryk tossed a four-hitter with no walks in taking the win.

"Our pitchers have been very good," explained coach Tondryk. "We think we have a solid one-two punch in our pitching department."

Tondryk helped her own cause by rapping out two hits and scoring a pair of runs, including the first of the game in the first inning.


The game was a pitchers' duel until the sixth inning when the XPlosion exploded for five runs, two of which came in on a Sami Mattson homer. Rachel Tondryk led of the inning with a single, Mattson homered, Kristin Swartz walked, Leanne Gittings singled, Katrina Korman walked, Courtney Esse singled and Alyssa Hanson singled for an RBI.

"Those are the kinds of innings we've had in the past with this team and hopefully we can start to see more of that now," mentioned Tondryk. "Sami hit that homer and that really got the team going."

  • In their second game of the week, the XPlosion romped to a 7-1 win over Eveleth-Gilbert behind the pitching of Korman who allowed one hit in the win.

The XPlosion picked up two runs in the third when Tiffani Rodd and Tondryk both scored, and then they added five more in the fifth inning as Rodd, Tondryk, Mattson, Swartz and Emily Anvid all scored.
"Sami and Tiffani have been solid in the lineup for us," mentioned Tondryk. "We are also starting to see some production out of some of the younger players and that is big. Courtney Esse has been real consistent and Sarah Williams is coming on very well right now."

The big hits of the inning were a triple by Tondryk and a double by Mattson.

In the second game of the double header, the XPlosion fell to the same Eveleth-Gilbert team with Sam Rust starting and running into trouble in the first inning on the mound. E-G scored four in the first and held a 4-1 lead, but the XPlosion fought back to eventually fall 4-3.

  • Last Thursday, the XPlosion downed the Proctor Steam 8-0 as Korman tossed a no-hitter.

"I think that was the best I've seen Katrina throw," explained Tondryk. "She was hitting her location perfectly and her drop ball was really dropping off the table. Katrina kept them off balance with her change up and they just couldn't adjust."
Williams and Esse both had a pair of hits as did Mattson and Korman, and Mattson scored three times in the game.

  • The XPlosion will play in the ASA Minnesota State Class A State Tournament this weekend in Duluth. The team has already qualified to play in the Triple Crown Sports National Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah, in a couple of weeks.

"The former director of the USSSA World Tournament is now in charge of Triple Crown Sports," explained Tondryk. "Over the last three years we have had some great success in the USSSA World Tournament and because of that they have extended an invitation for us to play."
The XPlosion was the last Midwestern team standing in 2004 with a ninth-place finish and again the last Midwest team remaining when they duplicated the feat last summer.

"Those were two great teams and they had a lot of success down in Kansas and Colorado," remarked Tondryk. "Because of the foundation those girls built, this team is also going to get the chance to play in the nationals and it is a tremendous experience."


This year's version of the XPlosion features seven players from Cloquet, one from AlBrook, a pair from Esko, one from Hermantown and Tondryk's niece who attends high school at Benilde-St. Margaret's in the Twin Cities.

"They are a tight group and they really like each other," mentioned Tondryk. "Now we'll see if they can take it to the next level."

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