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Lady Grizzlies back in the hunt for playoff spot

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Sunnyside's Devina Martinez beats the tag of Grandview pitcher Maria Cornejo during Saturday's doubleheader.

After opening the season with 10 consecutive losses, the Sunnyside High School girls fastpitch softball team now finds itself in the hunt for a Mid-Valley League playoff berth.

The Lady Grizzlies posted their first victories of the season this past Saturday, beating Grandview 15-7 and 8-7.

This coming Saturday's doubleheader at winless Wapato may very well be the showdown for who gets into the postseason and who is relegated to the cellar. Sunnyside Coach Kris Gonzalez said her club is viewing Saturday's twin bill as the pivotal point of the season.

"Saturday's games will be must wins for us," Gonzalez said. "I'm pretty sure a couple of wins will secure us a spot in the District tournament."

If the Lady Grizzlies play as well as they did this past Saturday, Wapato will have difficulty topping Sunnyside. The Sunnyside girls committed just two errors in the opening 15-7 victory over Grandview, and had just three defensive miscues in the nightcap.

Sunnyside hurler Viri Pasillas got off to a slow start in the opening game against the Lady Greyhounds, giving up a three-spot in the first inning. Pasillas settled down after that, not allowing more than one run in any of the next six innings. She settled on a nine-hitter, walking six and striking out five along the way.

"It wasn't as strong a performance that Viri had against West Valley, but it was strong enough to get the win," said Gonzalez.

Offensively against Grandview in the opening game, the Lady Grizzlies took advantage of 14 walks issued by Mary Cornejo. Devina Martinez and Victoria Solis added a pair of two-hit performances for Sunnyside.

The Lady Grizzlies put the first game out of reach by plating seven runs in the bottom of the sixth. Cornejo gave up seven walks that inning, and Martinez, Crystal Soto and Celeste Allen each had RBI singles in the frame.

Anna Elizondo had the top offensive effort for Grandview in the opening contest, going 3-for-4 with a double in the sixth.

In last Saturday's twin bill finale, Sunnyside plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. With the score knotted at 7-all, Solis singled to open the inning, advancing to second on an overthrow. She moved up to third on a passed ball. After loading the bases with a bunt single by Soto and an intentional walk to Samantha Taylor, Sunnyside got the win when Solis raced home on a grounder off the bat of Lacey Yanez, which was misplayed for an error by the Grandview shortstop.

Sunnyside's big inning in the nightcap came in the fifth, when four of the Lady Grizzlies crossed the plate. Sunnyside drew three walks that inning and got a two-run single from Soto.

For the game, Soto was 2-for-3 and Yanez had a sixth inning double in three plate appearances.

Erika Garcia earned the victory from atop the pitching rubber, scattering nine hits while walking four and fanning two.

"It was a real consistent effort by Erika," said Gonzalez, "And she got some solid defensive play behind her."

Sunnyside (2-5, 2-10) is scheduled to travel to Connell for a single non-league game this coming Thursday, and will then return to Mid-Valley League play on Saturday at Wapato.

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