Heidi Leitz (8) swings for a base hit against North Kitsap on Thursday. The Riders got up 4-0, but North Kitsap went on to win 15-4 to tie Port Angeles for first place. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula News)

Heidi Leitz (8) swings for a base hit against North Kitsap on Thursday. The Riders got up 4-0, but North Kitsap went on to win 15-4 to tie Port Angeles for first place. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula News)

SOFTBALL: North Kitsap takes control in late innings vs. Roughriders

Robinson sets PA’s new career HR record

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles girls softball team appeared to be in good shape entering the sixth inning, up 4-1 against the defending state champion North Kitsap squad as pitcher Heidi Leitz had the Vikings bats firmly under control.

But the game might have turned on a single play that came down to inches.

In the sixth, the Vikings hitters began figuring out Leitz, who injured her non-pitching hand the inning before while batting. With the game tied 4-4 in the top of the sixth, one out and two runners on, a Vikings’ batter hit a sharp line drive just to the right of shortstop Natalie Robinson.

She made a diving effort on the ball, but missed it by just a couple of inches. If Robinson had been able to snag the line drive, it likely would have been a double play and the inning would have ended with the score tied 4-4.

Instead, two runs scored and the floodgates opened as the Roughriders simply could not stop the bleeding. North Kitsap went on to score seven runs in the sixth and seven more in the seventh to win 15-4. There’s no way of knowing if that line drive barely getting past the mitt of Robinson would have made a difference in the outcome, but it might have been a different game.

Coach Morgan Worthington said the Riders, who have been ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the state for much of this season, can learn from this kind of loss. She said she told her players that this game “was not a loss, it’s an opportunity to propel us forward.

“I have no doubt in mind that they will bounce back,” Worthington said.

Home run queen

All of the early runs were on home runs. Port Angeles got off to a great 3-0 start in the first inning. Leitz had a leadoff walk, Lynzee Reid hit a solid single and then Robinson belted a three-run home run.

It was Robinson’s ninth home run of the year and the 33rd of her high school career, breaking the Port Angeles record for home runs held by another Natalie — Natalie Steinman, daughter of longtime Riders coach Randy Steinman.

Ava-Anne Sheahan added another home run in the second inning to give Port Angeles a 4-0 lead. North Kitsap’s Cerenity Fake hit a home run in the third to make it 4-1.

That was the only blemish against Leitz until the sixth. It wasn’t walks or errors that hurt the Riders (Leitz and Reid combined for just two walks). The Vikings showed why they are the defending state champions, simply pounding out hit after hit, ending up with 16 total, almost all of them in the final two innings.

Despite the rough loss, the Riders (9-1, 13-2) are still in first place in the Olympic League, tied with North Kitsap. Port Angeles is done playing at home, but still has four league games left, with one particularly tough game left against a good Olympic team, though Worthington stressed the Riders aren’t overlooking anyone. They played Bainbridge Friday, a game the Riders should win, then will play at Kingston (7-5, 10-5) on Tuesday.

Robinson finished 2-for-3.

North Kitsap 15, Port Angeles 4

North Kitsap 0 0 1 0 0 7 7 — 15 16 0

Port Angeles 3 1 0 0 0 0 0— 4 5 1


Port Angeles — Leitz 6 1/3 IP, 8 K, BB, 12 H; Reid 1/3 IP, BB, 4 H; Ritchie 1/3 IP.


Port Angeles — Robinson 2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, R; Sheahan 1-for-3, HR, RBI, R; Leitz, 1-3, R, BB; Reid 1-3, R, HBP.


Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or plabossiere@peninsulanews.us.

More in Sports

Ava-Anne Sheahan, Port Angeles softball.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Ava-Anne Sheahan, Port Angeles softball

Port Angeles’ Ava-Anne Sheahan had a spectacular 2A state tournament this weekend,… Continue reading

Peninsula College’s Hannah Wagner of Sequim signs to play soccer for Vancouver Island University surrounded by her teammates and assistant coach Andrew Cooper and head coach Kanyon Anderson. Wagner was also the women’s soccer team recipient of the Wally Sigmar and Art Feiro awards for leadership, academics and citizenship. (Peninsula College)
COLLEGE ATHLETICS: Pirates hand out awards for leadership, inspiration

Peninsula College last week announced its annual athletics awards… Continue reading

The Port Angeles softball team celebrates its fourth-place finish at 2A state tournament Saturday. The Roughriders won three out of five games at state to place and they only graduate two seniors. (Port Angeles softball)
STATE SOFTBALL: Roughriders finish fourth at state

Forks pulls out one victory but unable to place at 2B

Port Angeles' Parker Nickerson competes in the long jump this weekend at Mount Tahoma. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
STATE TRACK AND FIELD: Peninsula athletes shine at state meets

Sequim’s Clare Turella lone state champion from area but plenty of athletes place

AREA SPORTS BRIEFS: Lincoln Park BMX clinic hosted by Olympian Nyhaug

Canadian BMX Olympic champion Tory Nyhaug will be giving… Continue reading

Garrett Little of Sequim finished second at the state 2A boys tennis tournament this weekend. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
STATE TENNIS: Sequim's Garrett Little finishes second

Sequim’s Garrett Little finished second in the state 2A boys… Continue reading

Port Angeles' Kennedy Rognlien slides in to base against Shadle Park on Friday. The Riders beat Shadle Park 10-9, then went on to beat Lynden in the quarterfinals Friday in Selah. (Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula News)
STATE SOFTBALL: (Updated) Port Angeles in third-place game at state tournament

Roughriders will face North Kitsap for a fifth time this season

STATE TENNIS: (Updated) Sequim's Garrett Little in finals

Sequim’s Garrett Little is in the state finals after winning… Continue reading

FILE PHOTO: Port Angeles pitcher Heidi Leitz throws in the first inning against Kingston on Thursday at the Dry Creek Athletic Fields in Port Angeles.
STATE SOFTBALL: Roughriders reach Saturday semifinal

Forks falls in 17-15 slugfest despite Keira Johnson grand slam, Soto solo shot

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News
Peninsula's Millie Long, right, drives past the defense of Shoreline's Symone Pease during Wednesday's season finale in Port Angeles.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Port Angeles' Millie Long transfers to Alaska Anchorage

Same school/coach of Port Angeles star Jessica Madison