LACEY — Port Angeles’ hugely successful softball district tournament ended with a flourish late Saturday with a wild game against unbeaten and No. 1-ranked North Kitsap, as the two teams combined for 13 runs in the sixth inning.
In the end, the Vikings won the District 2/3 championship with a 14-10 win and the Roughriders finished second at district. Port Angeles had already qualified for state with a win Friday night over Fife in the district semifinals.
The Riders showed a lot of power all tournament, scoring 32 runs in three games.
“The goal is to coach them to peak at the right time. They really decided to show their true potential,” said coach Morgan Worthington.
Both teams had huge rallies. The Riders started off down 5-1 after one inning, but made the game close with a three-run second inning. The score remained 6-4 for most of the game.
With the Vikings up 7-4 in the top of the sixth, the Riders erupted for six runs to take a 10-7 lead into the bottom of the sixth. North Kitsap came back with a seven-run inning and held on with a scoreless seventh inning for the win and district title.
In three games this year, the 23-0 Vikings beat 17-5 Port Angeles 7-4, 7-5 and 14-10 as three of the Riders’ five losses were to one team. North Kitsap only had a couple of other games all year that were even close so Port Angeles was one of the few teams in the state that played the Vikings tough. The teams could meet a fourth time at the state tournament that begins Friday in Selah.
Worthington said there’s no disappointment that the Riders couldn’t quite knock off the powerhouse Vikings the third time around.
She pointed out that Port Angeles has scored 19 runs in three games against North Kitsap, which had six shutouts and allowed two or fewer runs 12 times this season.
“They’re just a great team. To be able to score 19 runs in three games is pretty amazing,” Worthington said. “They were fighting the whole way. All of our runs came with two outs.”
It was a hugely successful district tournament for the Olympic League as a whole. Olympic, which played North Kitsap tough and had three close games with Port Angeles, winning one out of three, finished third at the tournament. Olympic is also going to the state tournament.
As expected, North Kitsap is seeded No. 1 at state while Port Angeles is seeded No. 6 and will play No. 11-seed Cedarcrest at 9 a.m. Friday. Olympic is seeded No. 12.
Sequim also came within one victory of qualifying for state, crushing two opponents at district. Even fifth-place Kingston won a game at district.
“It just goes to show the depth of our league,” Worthington said. “Being able to play tough teams in our league sets us up for district and state.”
In Saturday’s finale, there were nine home runs. The Vikings’ Mackenzie Phillips hit three home runs and North Kitsap belted five home runs total.
The Riders’ Natalie Robinson countered with two home runs of her own, driving in four runs. Lily Halberg went 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. Heidi Leitz had a home run and drove in three.
On the mound, Leitz went five innings, allowing 10 hits and seven earned runs. She struck out two. Cheyenne Zimmer pitched a third of an inning, allowing four hits and five earned runs, while Lynzee Reid went two-thirds of an inning and struck out one.
Earlier in the tournament, Port Angeles crushed No. 3 Orting 15-3 and beat Fife 7-5.
Sequim beat Lindbergh 17-0 and White River 18-7. The Wolves lost to Enumclaw 8-2 in the fifth-place game and finished their season at 11-8.
Forks softball is also in the state 2B tournament and Quilcene is in the state 1B tournament. Both of those tournaments begin Friday in Yakima.
North Kitsap 14, Port Angeles 10
PA 1 3 0 0 0 6 0 — 10 8 2
NK 5 1 0 0 1 7 X — 14 14 4
PA — Leitz 5 IP 7 ER, 10 H, 2 K; Zimmer 0.1, 4 H, 5 ER; Reid 0.2 IP, K.
PA — Robinson 2-4 2 HRs, 2 R, 4 RBI; Halberg 2-3 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI; Leitz 1-2, HR, R, 3 RBI.