SPORTS: North Olympic 16U World Series team hanging on by thread after losing first game [**Gallery from Colorado**]

LAMAR, Colo. — North Olympic’s 16U softball team can’t afford to lose any more games at the Babe Ruth World Series after falling to powerhouse Levittown, N.Y., on Wednesday.

But if the team keeps on playing like it did against Levittown, it may last beyond today in the consolation first round of the Series championship bracket.

Levittown, now 4-1 in the tourney, beat North Olympic (2-3) 6-3.

North Olympic plays Hamburg, Ark., in a loser-out game today at 6:30 p.m. PDT in the double-elimination bracket tournament.

Watch the game live at www.lamartvcolorado.com.

“I think we have a good shot at Hamburg,” North Olympic head coach Warren Stevens said.

“I’m really proud of our girls, they don’t give up.”

Levittown features one of the top pitchers in the tournament, Ashley Massoni, who has 42 strikeouts in 24 innings.

She has given up just six runs while sporting an ERA of .667 in the three games she has pitched in the tourney.

Massoni (3-0) fanned 11 North Olympic batters.

The Levittown pitcher threw a perfect game Tuesday and beat Hamburg, North Olympic’s opponent tonight, 1-0 in nine innings earlier in the tourney.

“I was told that we hit [Massoni] harder than any team so far in the tournament,” Stevens said.

“We played them pretty tough. We didn’t give up.”

Hamburg lost 5-0 to tourney favorite Wilson County, N.C., Wednesday evening to get bumped down to the consolation bracket after coming back to beat Lodi, Calif., 7-5 in the first game of bracket play early Wednesday afternoon.

Lodi had led 4-1 at one time in that first game.

Hamburg is another elite team like Levittown and Wilson County that selects players from a wide region and travels to top tournaments.

“They’re another traveling team but I think we have a good shot at them,” Stevens said about Hamburg.

Against Levittown, North Olympic got a little break in the weather as the temperature cooled down to 84 degrees at game time Wednesday instead of the normal high 90s it has been all week in Lamar.

“We almost put on sweatshirts,” Stevens joked.

North Olympic standout pitcher Sarah Steinman (1-2) had another strong performance but got outpitched by perhaps the top hurler at the tourney.

She gave up only six hits in the seven innings but gave up an uncharacteristic seven walks.

“The umpire wasn’t giving her the inside corner,” Stevens said. “It took her awhile to adjust.”

It was a close game most the the way with North Olympic trailing just 3-2 after five innings.

Port Angeles picked up a run in the bottom half of the first to tie it when Raelyn Lucas doubled into the right-center-field gap and then was driven in by Steinman’s RBI single to left field, one of her three hits on the afternoon.

Steinman was named Port Angeles player of the game by tournament officials by going 3-for-3 with the RBI and a run scored.

Levittown then tallied one run in the second and another in the third, but again North Olympic answered, this time in the bottom of the third when Lois Harding’s fly ball to deep right-center-field was misplayed and an errant throw-in allowed her to advance to third.

With two outs Lucas delivered a clutch base hit to right field that scored Harding to make the score 3-2, Levittown.

The score would stay 3-2 until the sixth inning when Levittown’s No. 8 and 9 hitters would reach base via the free pass, then come around to score on a ground out to the right side and two base hits to make it a 5-2 contest.

North Olympic had an answer of its own, however, in the bottom half of the inning when Steinman collected her third hit of the game, a single up the middle, and then left-handed hitting Ralena Blackcrow laced Massoni’s first pitch into the right-field corner, scoring Steinman and narrowing the Levittown lead to 5-3.

Levittown countered again in the top half of the seventh when it took advantage of a leadoff walk, stole second, then with two outs, left-fielder Samantha Basile ripped a double into right field that would bring her sister, Alanna, around to score, making it 6-3.

With its back to the wall, North Olympic will try to get back to its winning ways today and continue playing in the World Series, Stevens said.

Levittown, N.Y., 6, North Olympic 3

Levittown 2 0 1 0 0 2 1 ­— 6 6 2

N. Olympic 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 — 3 6 6

WP- Massoni (3-0); LP- Steinman (1-2)

Pitching Statistics

Levittown: Massoni 7IP, 3R, 2ER, 6H, 11K, 1BB.

North Olympic: Steinman 7IP, 6H, 6ER, 3K, 7BB.

Hitting Statistics

North Olympic: Steinman 3-3, R, RBI; Lucas, 2-3, 2B, R; Blackcrow 1-3, 3B, RBI.

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