SPORTS: Port Angeles 12U Babe Ruth team closes out World Series while playing well

ALACHUA, Fla. — The Port Angeles 12U Babe Ruth softball team survived the tropical storms but couldn’t get by national powerhouse Pitt County, N.C., and was eliminated from World Series play.

But not before giving a gallant fight to the North Carolina team that was just destroying all of its opponents at the World Series.

Pitt County won the Sunday late-night game (it started at 9:30 EDT) 8-0 but the score was just 2-0 going into the fifth inning. No other team was able to hold off the power-hitting team so long.

Earlier on Sunday, the North Olympic All-Star team pounded Gainesville, Fla., 12-2.

“We played well on Sunday,” North Olympic manager Randy Steinman said.

“We felt pretty good about the way we played. It was a good way to end the tournament.”

It just so happened that Port Angeles probably was playing in the toughest division of the 20-team World Series as the three teams advancing to championship bracket play all were still alive by Monday evening Florida time.

In fact National Division 2 had two of the four teams in the championship semifinals with Pitt County and Prairie Valley, Ky., unbeaten in bracket play.

And Hazlet, N.J., which lost its first bracket game, stayed alive by winning in the consolation bracket.

Pitt County won their pool games 11-0, 11-0, 9-1 and 8-0, and then stomped Winter Park, Fla., 10-0 in second-round bracket play. Pitt County had a bye in the first round as a division champion.

The North Carolina team has outscored opponents 49-1 in five games.

Port Angeles stayed stride-for-stride with Pitt County through the first three innings before giving up two runs in the fourth.

Pitt County is a powerhouse team that could knock the stuffing out of the ball, Steinman said.

“They were just hitting shots to the fence all game long but we were making great catches and plays,” he said.

“They were getting frustrated.”

North Olympic center fielder Sierra Wilson made three spectacular catches in the early innings.

“She caught one ball at full speed as it was heading to the fences,” Steinman said.

“Another ball was headed to the right-center field gap but Sierra reached out and snagged it at the last minute.

“Another hit was a little line drive in front of her, and the line drives are hard to see here, but Sierra made a diving shoestring catch for the out.

“Pitt County was frustrated with our defense.”

Port Angeles managed three hits in the game with singles from Lauren Lunt, Nizhoni Wheeler and Wilson.

This was the first game that Natalie Steinman was held in check at the plate. She went 2 for 4 in each of the first three games of the tourney.

“Natalie had a great tournament, as did all of the kids,” Steinman said.

Now the Port Angeles players will spend a couple of days seeing the sights before watching the championship game Wednesday, and then flying home.

“The girls are having a blast, having fun playing in the tournament and just being here,” Steinman said.

The team now will hit the beach at St. Augustine, and then visit the Universal Studios in Orlando.

“They deserve it,” Steinman said about his players.

This all-star team has been together for just a few weeks but the core of the group has been practicing together since October.

“It’s been a pleasure coaching these kids,” Steinman said.

“The girls have worked hard and they have put in a lot of time.

“It’s a great group of kids and a great group of parents. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls.”

And these players are only 12 years old, and will have plenty of opportunities to play in more World Series tournaments.

“This has been great experience for them,” Steinman said. “It was really good to get the win.”

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