SPORTS: North Olympic girls wilt under 97-degree heat … but advance to World Series anyway

LAMAR, Colo. — Heat 1, North Olympic 0.

One bad inning, partly because of heat exhaustion, doomed North Olympic at the 16U Babe Ruth softball World Series on a 97-degree Monday afternoon.

North Olympic was leading 4-1 before the game unraveled in the top of the sixth inning when Wausau, Wis., scored six runs on four North Olympic errors, a bases-loaded walk, a hit batter and a couple of timely hits.

Wausau went on to win 8-4 in National Division pool play action.

North Olympic finished pool play 2-2 and advances to the World Series double-elimination championship bracket play Wednesday.

As the National’s No. 3 seed, North Olympic will open bracket play against American Division No. 2 seed Levittown, N.Y., on Wednesday.

“It will be a pretty tall task for us against Levittown,” North Olympic head coach Warren Stevens said.

“But anything can happen.”

Stevens watched Levittown beat Hamburg, Ark., 1-0 in a nine-inning nail-biter in the game before North Olympic took the field Monday.

“Levittown is not a Babe Ruth team but a select team,” Stevens said. “It will be a pretty tough game for us.”

North Olympic will give its best shot against the New York team, Stevens said.

“I’m proud of our kids,” he said. “We have no superstars but everybody on the team plays well together.”

This is the first time since 2006 that North Olympic has advanced to championship play.

North Olympic captured fourth in the nation in 2006.

“We will see how it shakes out,” Stevens said about bracket play.

Win or lose in Wednesday’s first-round championship play, North Olympic will be playing at least through Thursday in the double-elimination tournament.

Wausau 8, North Olympic 4

Everything was going well for Port Angeles on Monday until the sixth inning.

Second baseman Tori Holcomb was playing with heat exhaustion during the inning.

“It wasn’t apparent until Tori got back to the dugout between innings,” Stevens said.

“We had to remove her from the game.”

That meant that North Olympic’s 11-player team became a 10-player squad for the bottom of the sixth inning and the seventh inning.

Still, Port Angeles didn’t go down without a fight, loading the bases with two outs in the sixth inning and getting two players on base in the seventh but coming up with no runs to show for it.

Ralena Blackcrow, who went 2-for-4 with a triple, RBI, scored a run and had an outstanding catch in right field, was named the player of the game for Port Angeles.

Maddy Hinrichs also hit a triple and scored a run while Holcomb went 1-for-3 with an RBI and run, Lauren Curtis went 2-for-3 and Sarah Steinman scored a run.

Monday’s loss was somewhat of a bitter pill for the North Olympic girls to swallow, having taken an early 3-1 lead on Wausau, then adding another run in the third inning to lead 4-1 most of the way.

Then came the ugly sixth.

Curtis pitched effectively through five innings, giving up just one run on four base hits while striking out five, but a leadoff bunt and two base hits, bracketed by four defensive miscues, and the wheels came off the bus completely for North Olympic in the the sixth inning.

When the dust settled, the Wisconsin girls had scored six runs on just three base hits, to take a 7-4 lead.

Then, despite having five hitters reach base in the sixth and seventh inning, North Olympic was unable to push across any more runs.

Wausau 8, North Olympic 4

Wausau 0 1 0 0 0 6 1 ­— 8 7 4

N. Olympic 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 4 10 5

LP- Curtis (1-1)

Pitching Statistics

North Olympic: Curtis 5 1/3IP, 7H, 5K, 1BB; Steinman, 1 2/3IP, 1K, 2H, HB.

Hitting Statistics

North Olympic: Blackcrow 2-4, 3B, RBI, R; Curtis 2-3; Holcomb 1-3, RBI, R; Hinrichs 1-4, 3B, R; Steinman 1-3, R.

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