KENNEWICK - The Sunnyside High School baseball team opened its 2004 season by playing ball with the big boys.
The Grizzlies took part in a jamboree at Southridge High School this past Saturday involving two potential Big Nine State contenders in Kennewick and Southridge.
"It was a good day," said Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez. "It is hard to say how much everyone is excited to start this season."
The jamboree format had each team playing one another in three-inning contests.
After being lit up at last year's season-opening jamboree for 24 runs, the Grizzlies held their own this time around against Southridge, losing 13-1. In the second game, the Grizzlies fell to Kennewick 7-3.
"Both teams are pretty solid," said Martinez. "They have a lot more depth."
Martinez, though, said he wasn't so worried about the final score of the jamboree games, but rather he wanted to use the occasion to see where his team stood before entering regular season play.
Errors were about the biggest downside to the Grizzlies Saturday afternoon. Sunnyside had three fielding errors and one throwing miscue on the day.
"We have to cut those down," said Martinez. "We also had some balls that should have been got to."
The highlight for Sunnyside came in the second jamboree game against Kennewick. Sunnyside's R.J. Elizondo singled off Lions pitcher Steve Marquart. Marquart is one of the top 50 baseball prospects in the country, said Martinez.
The bats of the Grizzlies did fine on Saturday, added the Grizzly coach. Elizondo led the way for Sunnyside, going 3-for-4 on the day with a double against the Lions. Elizondo also scored two runs and had a stolen base. Teammate Nathan Anderson was 2-for-3 and had a triple against Southridge. Anderson also had two RBIs. One player whom Martinez said stood out was Chris Newberry. Newberry swung a solid bat Saturday afternoon, going 2-for-2 on the day at the plate. Teammate Tyler Esqueda rounded out the hits for Sunnyside with a 1-for-2 performance on Saturday.
Sunnyside's pitchers faced a lot of batters on Saturday, but Martinez feels that had a lot to do with it being the bullpen's first outing of the year.
Elizondo saw the most time on the mound for Sunnyside. The Grizzly senior tossed two innings Saturday. Elizondo faced 14 batters, giving up six hits and no walks. Elizondo also had two strikeouts.
In one inning of work, Esqueda faced five batters, allowing two hits. Esqueda also had two strikeouts while giving up one walk and hitting one batter.
Michael Johnson had a relatively good showing on the mound for Sunnyside. The standout Grizzly catcher tossed one inning, facing seven batters. Johnson allowed three hits and had two strikeouts.
Derek Uberuaga had trouble with his breaking ball, said Martinez. Uberuaga faced 11 batters, allowing only two hits. Uberuaga had two strikeouts and three hit batters.
Grizzly ace Micah Zakahi faced 11 batters on Saturday in one inning of work, allowing five hits.
Martinez said he is feeling positive about the season after seeing what his team needs to work on following the jamboree.
The Grizzlies open their 2004 campaign with a non-league game at 2A Quincy this Tuesday.