CONNELL - Losing the first 10 games of a season can be a tough thing from which to rebound. Yet, the Sunnyside High School girls fastpitch softball team apparently has done just that.
Yesterday at Connell, the Lady Grizzlies stormed past the Eagles to pick up their third consecutive victory. The 10-6 non-league win improves Sunnyside's overall record on the season to 3-10.
Sunnyside was the beneficiary of 14 walks and three hit-batsmen in Thursday's contest.
"We were very disciplined in the box," said Sunnyside Coach Kris Gonzalez. "We took what they gave us."
The Lady Grizzlies snapped a 2-2 tie with a four-run uprising in the top of the fifth. Devina Martinez, Victoria Solis and Jenny Jones started the onslaught by loading the bases on three straight walks. A groundout off the bat of Samantha Taylor allowed Martinez to scamper home with the first of the four runs. Celeste Allen then came through with a single, one of five on the day for Sunnyside, to drive in Solis. Following a passed ball that allowed Jones and Allen to move up to second and third, Erika Garcia beat out a dropped third strike. On the play, the Connell catcher overthrew first, which allowed both Jones and Allen to score.
Sunnyside increased its 7-4 lead to a six-run advantage by pushing three runs across the plate in the top of the seventh.
Connell threatened in the bottom half of the seventh, scoring twice via a pair of hits off relief hurler Viri Pasillas. Gonzalez said Pasillas got the Lady Grizzlies out of the jam, which included fanning an Eagle batter for the last out of the game.
Gonzalez replaced starting pitcher Erika Garcia with Pasillas in the last inning, "...because I thought it would throw the Connell hitters off a little," she said. "Also, it was a (non-league) game and I wanted to give Viri some reps."
Gonzalez went on to praise the play of her Lady Grizzlies in the field, noting Sunnyside only committed two errors in the game.
"I'm definitely pleased with just the two errors," she said. "At the beginning of the season it was common to see us commit eight errors. We're getting fewer and fewer each time out. The girls have come a long way."
Sunnyside faces a pair of "must win" games this coming Saturday at Wapato, in terms of qualifying for the postseason.