SPORTS: Port Angeles 12U all-stars play seven-hour game because of tropical storms at World Series

ALACHUA, Fla. — The Port Angeles 12U softball all-stars were expecting a grueling World Series.

Just not this grueling.

What was supposed to be a long first day turned into a long, long, long first day for North Olympic on Saturday.

The team’s day went from 1:30 p.m. to after 10 p.m. EDT thanks to a series of thunder and lightning storms going through the Alachua and High Springs, Fla., area at the 2012 Babe Ruth Softball 12U World Series.

North Olympic’s first game lasted seven hours because of storm and rain delays.

That has to be close to a world record for a group of 12-year-old girls to play a softball game.

Yup, those wicked thunder and lightning storms going through the North Olympic Peninsula area in late July must have followed the team to Florida.

“That’s what everyone is saying, that we brought the storms here,” Port Angeles manager Randy Steinman said with a chuckle.

Steinman made that statement from the team’s hotel room Sunday as North Olympic waited out yet another rain delay for the second straight day during pool play.

Port Angeles opened 0-2 after dropping those first two games, 4-2 in the marathon seven-hour first game, and 5-1 in the nightcap. Actually late nightcap as the game was pushed back from a scheduled 7:30 p.m. EDT start to 9 p.m.

Because of the delays, tournament officials pushed all games up Sunday, making North Olympic start its third pool game at noon EDT.

Steinman called the Peninsula Daily News office at 4 p.m. Florida time from the hotel room to report the new delay.

“They are saying that they want to continue the game in an hour,” Steinman said. “They want us on the field at 4:45 p.m.”

Port Angeles finally did get in Sunday’s first game, pounding Gainesville, Fla., 12-2 to improve to 1-2 and stay alive in the tournament.

These thunder storms are nothing like the ones that came through the North Olympic Peninsula.

They pack a much bigger punch moisture-wise.

“It’s a tropical storm,” Steinman said. “I have never seen it rain so hard before. It’s a monsoon.

“It floods the fields in 10 minutes. There’s 2 inches of water sitting on the fields. But they’re not like our fields, they drain quickly.”

On Sunday, Port Angeles was ahead of Gainesville 2-1 after two innings when the rains hit again and postponed the game.

Luckily, North Olympic’s momentum continued after the teams got back on the field after the three-hour delay.

The Port Angeles girls were excited about beating Gainesville, Steinman said.

“It feels good getting our first victory down here.”

Nizhoni Wheeler and Callie Hall combined to pitch the two-run game.

Wheeler went the first four innings, striking out six and giving up just four hits and one run.

Hall pitched the final inning in the 10-run mercy-rule game, giving up two hits and one run.

Natalie Steinman, who had two hits in every game so far, went 2 for 4 while scoring two runs while Brennan Gray was perfect at bat, going 3 for 3 while scoring three runs and walking once.

Ashlynn Uvila went 2 for 3, scoing two runs while earning one hit each were Lauren Lunt, Sierra Wilson, Kylee Reid, Halaina Ferguson and Sierra Robinson.

Port Angeles opened the tourney with a 4-2 loss to Prairie Village, Ky., in that marathon game, and then fell 5-1 to Hazlet, N.J., in the nightcap.

“It was a long, brutal day,” Steinman said about that first day.

In the early game, both teams earned six hits and one error each.

Top Port Angeles hitters included Natalie Steinman, who went 2 for 4 with a run; Uvila, 1 for 3 with a run, Wilson, 1 for 2 with a triple, Wheeler, 1 for 3, and Gray, 1 for 2.

“The triple was a nice hit for Sierra Wilson; it was her birthday,” Steinman said.

In the second game against New Jersey, Port Angeles had a couple of untimely errors to lose by four runs.

“Defense is our strength,” Steinman said. “But we made a couple of mistakes, and it cost us.”

North Olympic had five hits and two errors to go with the run while New Jersey had eight hits and no errors.

Natalie Steinman went 2 for 4 with an RBI in the game while Robinson was 1 for 1, Gray went 1 for 2 and Wheeler was 1 for 3.

After beating Gainesville on Sunday, Port Angeles was set to play powerhouse Pitt County (Winterville), N.C., in the nightcap, weather permitting.

“It’s sprinkling now, and we play Pitt County in an hour,” Steinman said at 7 p.m. EDT.

North Carolina is 3-0 after getting its early Sunday game in. The team has been 10-running other squads in North Olympic’s pool group, National Division 2.

“Pitt County is the leader in our division,” Steinman said.

“We will go out there and do our best to win.”

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