The Sunnyside High School baseball team may have been looking ahead to next week's big showdown with Selah this past Saturday when Hanford rolled into town. But one thing the Grizzlies may have forgotten is that the Falcons have never been shy about coming to Sunnyside.
Hanford dominated the latter half of the opening game on Saturday to hand the Grizzlies their first shutout loss of the year, 9-0. Sunnyside fought back in the second game behind some outstanding base running from Pete Marquez to gain a 6-5 victory to garner a split.
The Grizzlies (6-2, 9-4) travel to Wapato this Tuesday for a single game before this Saturday's crucial Mid-Valley League doubleheader against undefeated Selah.
"They were a better team than I thought they were going to be," admitted Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez of the Falcons. "They swung the bats. They really dictated the speed of the first game."
The opening game was scoreless through three innings until starting pitcher Derek Uberuaga ran into some trouble in the fourth inning. Uberuaga gave up two of his four walks in the fourth inning. He also had a hit batter, as the Falcons strung together three hits and took advantage of one Sunnyside error to score four runs. The Falcons put together two runs in the fifth and manufactured another three runs in the seventh.
Martinez felt R.J. Elizondo, who pitched in relief in the fifth inning, simply didn't have enough time to warm up his arm. Elizondo tossed a much more solid sixth inning when the Falcons didn't score a run. Elizondo was yanked in the seventh after giving up a double, a walk and another double. Nick Uribe pitched in the seventh and allowed one walk.
Hanford had nine hits in the opening game compared with only two hits from the Grizzlies. Elizondo and Tyler Esqueda accounted for the pair of Sunnyside hits.
Martinez said the Falcons capitalized on the nine walks Sunnyside's pitching staff gave up. The Grizzlies also failed to capitalize on a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the first. Martinez felt if the Grizzlies had scored some runs in the first inning that would have changed the momentum of the game. The Grizzlies also left a pair of runners aboard in the fourth and fifth innings.
The second game was a bit of a different story for the Grizzlies, as the final score isn't really indicative of how the game was played.
"We really put pressure on them in the second game with our base running," said Martinez.
The Falcons scored a pair of runs in both the second and seventh innings. Hanford also plated a run in the third inning. The Grizzlies had lone runs in the first and third innings and then scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth frames.
Marquez was instrumental in the Grizzlies' 6-5 victory. The Sunnyside junior had five stolen bases in the second game and was 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored.
"He is so quick," said Martinez of Marquez. "He puts a lot of pressure on the other team because of his speed."
A stolen base by Marquez in the first inning led to a run for Sunnyside following a sacrifice fly by Micah Zakahi. Marquez's stolen base in the third inning also set up a run. Marquez had an RBI single in the fourth to score Elizondo and then scored off a double from Michael Johnson after moving into scoring position with a stolen base. In the fifth inning, Chris Newberry scored Zakahi with a single and the other run for Sunnyside came when Uberuaga scored off an error.
Zakahi tossed five innings for the Grizzlies, collecting eight strikeouts and allowing six hits. Only one of the three runs Hanford scored off Zakahi was earned. Johnson tossed the last inning in relief, giving up three hits.
Martinez also dished out praise for Tyler Cullen, who was brought up from the junior varsity game in the nightcap to play shortstop. Cullen replaced an injured Esqueda, who hurt his arm in the opener.