SPORTS: 12U fastpitch team heads to World Series

LYNDEN — North Olympic’s 12U fastpitch softball tournament team made history at the Babe Ruth Northwest Region tournament this weekend.

And it’s headed to the World Series in Wilson County, N.C., on Aug. 6-12 because of it.

The Port Angeles all-star squad overcame its only deficit of the tournament — one it had to sleep on — en route to becoming the first North Olympic 12U softball team to win state and regional titles to qualify for the World Series.

“That was their goal, to do it from start to finish,” North Olympic coach Randy Steinman said. “It’s unbelievable. They’ve been working hard all year for this, and they got rewarded.”

They did all the little things they needed to win every single game.

“And also [they] just crushed the ball.”

Indeed, North Olympic bashed its way to double-digit run totals in all but one of its six wins at regionals. That included an 11-0 victory over Roseburg, Ore., in Sunday’s championship game in which Sarah Steinman tossed a complete game one-hitter.

North Olympic’s semifinal game against Ellensburg, however, was a grinder.

The team trailed Ellensburg 4-1 in the third inning Saturday afternoon when thunder and lighting arrived in Lynden.

With no end to the inclement weather in sight, North Olympic had to wait until Sunday to attempt a comeback. The rest must have done some good.

North Olympic rallied with three runs in final three innings of regulation, the last of which came when McKayla Cox stole home with two outs in the top of the sixth.

“The catcher threw the ball to the pitcher, the pitcher turned her back and [Cox] ran home,” Randy Steinman said. “By the time the pitcher figured it out, it was too late.

“We practiced it before, but I did not tell her to do it. She did it on her own.”

Dusti Lucas, who pitched the game’s first six innings, smacked a two-run double in the top of the ninth to put North Olympic ahead 6-4.

Hannah Stewart, who held Ellensburg scoreless during the seventh and eighth, then held off a spirited Ellensburg rally that had the game-winning run on second base with two outs. But Stewart induced a ground out, and North Olympic clinched a spot in the title game with a 6-5 win.

“That was our championship game,” Randy Steinman said of the semifinal. “It was just a wild game, and it was a great effort by all our kids.”

Even if North Olympic had lost to Roseburg in its next game, the team would’ve had another crack at the Oregon squad since it was a double-elimination bracket.

Of course, North Olympic didn’t need it after an 11-0 romp.

“This team can really hit the ball and score a lot of runs,” Randy Steinman said. “[Even down 4-1 in the semis] we knew we could come back and beat them.”

They did, and they’re headed to the World Series because of it.

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