SPORTS: North Olympic 16U softball team claims fifth place at World Series

LAMAR, Colo. — North Olympic, the smallest team with only 11 players, and the youngest with just four 16-year-olds, captured fifth place at the 16U Babe Ruth softball World Series.

This is the second best that a Port Angeles-area team has done at a softball World Series.

The 2006 team claimed fourth place.

“I’m really, really proud of our girls,” North Olympic coach Warren Stevens said.

North Olympic, after a long and extremely hot week in Colorado, will arrive at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, 602 E. First St., between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. today.

In North Olympic’s final game, the team lost 12-2 to Hamburg, Ark., in a loser-out game Friday morning.

The area team finally ran out of gas in its sixth game of the World Series, playing in 100-degree-plus weather on the field most of the week.

Tough inning

North Olympic went up 1-0 in the top of the first but had an error and gave up four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Stevens watched the wind leave North Olympic’s sail at that point.

“We were done,” he said. “The girls had given everything they had in the tournament.”

Wilson County, N.C., the pre-tourney favorite, beat Wausau, Wis., 6-4 for the World Series championship.

North Olympic, meanwhile won three major World Series awards.

Ralena Blackcrow as named to the all-tournament team while Sarah Steinman won a gold glove as a member of the all-defensive team and Tori Kuch won the all-sportsman award for good sportsmanship.

“That was awesome that we won three awards,” Stevens said.

Stevens said he is also proud of the fact that North Olympic, considered a house team, took fifth in a tournament filled with what is considered traveling, select or elite teams.

“The fact that we can compete against teams like that makes me feel good,” he said.

“We play in what is considered a house league because we play rec ball. We do it the right way.

“North Carolina, the winner, has had the same players since they were playing at the 10U level.

“They just happen to charter through Babe Ruth.”

Stevens still feels good that North Olympic gave Levittown, N.Y., the eventual third-place team, one of its toughest games of the tournament when the two teams played Wednesday.

“We played them pretty tough,” Stevens said.

“We continue to learn from it. One of these days we will get it done. It may not happen while I’m here, but we will get it done.”

North Olympic was loaded with young players at the tourney with just four 16 years of age.

Tori Holcomb, Lauren Curtis, Kearsten Cox and Savanah Johnson are the only players who will be too old to play at this level next year.

Mariah Frazier, another 16-year-old, did not make the trip to the World Series.

That means most of the team could be back in 2012.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Stevens said. “We will see who comes back out.

“Sometimes they get other interests when they get older.”

At any rate, members of this North Olympic team will be able to tell their children and grandchildren when they played on one of the best teams in the country.

“I’m so darn proud of them,” Stevens said.

Hamburg, Ark., 12, North Olympic 2

N. Olympic 1 0 0 1 0 ­— 2 4 3

Hamburg 4 0 2 6 x — 12 14 0

WP- Renee; LP- Curtis

Pitching Statistics

North Olympic: Curtis 4IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2K, 3 BB; Steinman 1IP, 5H, 4ER, BB.

Hamburg: Renee 4IP, 3H, 1ER, 4K, BB; Dee 1IP, 1H, 0R, KK, 2BB.

Hitting Statistics

North Olympic: Curtis 1-2, 2B; Steinman 2-2, 2B, R, BB; Lucas R; Hinrichs 1-3.

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