SPORTS: North Olympic stars alive in 16U Babe Ruth Softball World Series, play today

LAMAR, Colo. — The North Olympic all-star bats caught fire at just the moment in the first day of the 16U Babe Ruth Softball World Series on Saturday.

Hours after seeing its offense go silent in a 2-0 loss to Lodi, Calif., North Olympic came up with a dramatic 9-8 walk-off victory over host Lamar, Colo., to keep its Series hopes alive.

Tori Kuch nailed a walk-off RBI triple to cap a wild five-run seventh inning as North Olympic rallied to avoid going 0-2 in its first two games of pool play.

North Olympic (1-1) will next play Lancaster, N.H., today at 11 a.m., before closing out pool play Monday with a game against Fern Creek, Kent.

“That was a game we had to have,” North Olympic coach Warren Stevens said of the Saturday night win. “We watched the other two teams [in the pool] and they are pretty damn good.

“Our offense was dormant, but they showed resilience in the last inning when we had to have it.”

Indeed, North Olympic had scored just four runs in 13 innings prior to the bottom of the seventh barrage against Lamar.

Trailing 8-4 entering the frame, the 16U all-stars got triples from Madison Hinrichs, Raelyn Lucas and Ralena Black Crow before Kuch stepped to the plate with the game on the line.

Coming up with the score tied and two outs, Kuch responded with a drive that went all the way to the fence and scored Kearsten Cox from first base for the game-winning run.

“It was crazy,” Stevens said. “We just couldn’t get anything going until the bottom of the seventh.”

Lauren Curtis earned the win on the mound.

The right-hander gave up eight runs in seven innings of work, and wasn’t helped much by North Olympic’s four errors in the field.

“We can play a lot better than we played today as a team,” Steven said. “It’s an ugly win, but we’ll take it.

“If our bats stay the way they did tonight when they woke up in the seventh inning, it will be a lot easier to make something happen.”

Obviously, North Olympic struggled to make things happen in its 2-0 loss to Lodi earlier in the day.

Sarah Steinman struck out seven Lodi batters and allowed just two runs in six innings to keep North Olympic in its opening game of the Series.

But Lodi hurler Liz Trotter was equally as sharp, keeping North Olympic hitters off balance all afternoon and allowing only one hit to reach the outfield on the fly.

Both North Olympic base hits were sharply hit ground balls by Steinman and Black Crow. Neither girl advanced beyond second base.

“In the whole game I think there was only three balls that went out of the infield for both teams,” Stevens said.

“We just didn’t do what we needed to do. We hit the ball, but we hit it right at people.”

North Olympic did have one golden chance to take control of the game in the top of the third inning.

That’s when the all-stars loaded the bases with no outs on miscue from the shortstop and back-to-back walks. Three straight ground outs, however, kept any of those runners from scoring.

“We played a good game,” Stevens said. “We had the opportunity, and we didn’t take advantage.”

Lodi scored its two runs in the bottom of the fourth off three base hits and a North Olympic error.

With Trotter dominating on the mound, that was all Lodi would need.

“It was a well-played game on both parts,” Stevens said.

Lodi 2, North Olympic 0

Olympic 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ­— 0 2 1

Lodi 0 0 0 2 0 0 X — 2 3 2

WP- Trotter; LP- Steinman

Pitching Statistics

Olympic: Steinman 6IP, 3H, 2R, BB, 7K.

Lodi: Trotter 7IP, 2H, 2BB, K.

Hitting Statistics

Olympic: Black Crow 1-3; Steinman 1-3.

North Olympic 9, Lamar 8

Lamar 1 5 0 1 0 0 1 ­— 8 9 4

Olympic 2 0 1 0 1 0 5 — 9 8 4

WP- Curtis; LP- Chelsea V.

Pitching Statistics

Lamar: Chelsea V. 6+IP 4H, 4R, ER.

Olympic: Curtis 7IP, 9H, 7ER, 3BB, 5K.

Hitting Statistics

Olympic: Kuch 2-4 (2B, 2RBI); Lucas 2-4 (3B, 3R, RBI); Holcomb 1-2 (3B, 2RBI, R); Black Crow 1-4 (3B, R); Steinman 1-4 (R, RBI); Hinrichs 1-4 (3B, RBI, R).

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