The Sunnyside High School girls fastpitch softball team had its hands full this past Saturday. In the 2004 spring openers, the Lady Grizzlies were clipped by a pair of strong Class 4A schools.
The Enumclaw Hornets, which advanced to the State tournament last spring, edged the Class 3A Lady Grizzlies 7-3 in the first of three games played in Sunnyside on Saturday. Spanaway Lake swept the afternoon doubleheader from Sunnyside, winning 5-0 and 28-15.
Sunnyside Coach Kris Gonzalez said despite sustaining the three losses Saturday, she remains optimistic the Lady Grizzlies will fare well this season.
"We're young, we only have one senior on the varsity. Considering who we played Saturday, I thought the girls performed well," said Gonzalez.
"Especially on offense," she continued. "Last year at this time of the season, we were only coming up with one or two hits a game. But we had three hits against Enumclaw, then five hits and nine hits in the two late games against Spanaway Lake," Gonzalez said.
The last of the three games played Saturday, won 28-15 by Spanaway Lake, there was a total of 26 hits.
"I think fatigue kicked in," said Gonzalez," explaining the two clubs committed a total of 15 errors. Between the tiring arms of the opposing pitchers and the fielding miscues, the final tally more resembled a football score.
Sunnyside's top guns at the plate in the Spanaway Lake nightcap were Crystal Soto and Jessica Serl. Soto had a double in the second inning and an RBI single in the third enroute to posting a 3-for-3 effort at the plate. Serl added a 2-for-2 offensive performance for the Lady Grizzlies.
Spanaway Lake's top hitter in the twin bill finale was its pitcher, Kilgore, who went 4-for-5 by slapping four singles.
Kilgore had a 2-for-3 performance in the opener against Sunnyside, which included socking a solo home run in the top of the seventh.
Serl was 1-for-3 in the 5-0 loss to Spanaway Lake.
Gonzalez said none of her Lady Grizzlies advanced past second base in the opening game against Spanaway Lake.
"We came through with five hits against them, but we left them all stranded," said Gonzalez. "We made some base running errors."
In the day's first game against Enumclaw, the Lady Grizzlies scratched out three runs in the bottom of the third, and were ahead 3-1 heading into the top of the fifth frame. The Hornets exploded for five runs in the fifth, though, blanking Sunnyside through the final four innings enroute to scoring their come-from-behind 7-3 victory.
Sunnyside's three-run third began with Lacey Yanez drawing a walk. Yanez ended up scoring on her own, as she stole second and advanced two more bases on two passed balls. Following a strikeout, Jessica Cruz drew another walk for the Lady Grizzlies, moving to second on yet another passed ball. Following the second strikeout of the inning, Jenny Jones clutched up and drove in Cruz with a single. Serl closed out the scoring for Sunnyside by lashing an RBI double to plate Jones.
Pitching-wise for Sunnyside, Erika Garcia went the distance in the opener against Enumclaw. She scattered 10 hits in the 7-3 loss, giving up five walks along the way while fanning one. Garcia (0-2) also took the loss in the nightcap against Spanaway Lake, pitching the first three innings. She departed the pitching rubber with her club trailing by a 23-12 count. Viri Pasillas pitched all of the opening game against Spanaway Lake, limiting Sunnyside's 4A opponent to just five hits. She walked only three. Pasillas (0-1) was touched for five runs in the last two innings she pitched against Spanaway Lake in the second game of the twin bill.
In looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Gonzalez said she has everyone back off last year's squad with the exception of Sonya Ramos.
"Those will be some difficult shoes to fill," Gonzalez said of her shortstop's departure, "But we're a year older and a year more experienced.
"I think we're going to be alright," she added.
Serl will be replacing Ramos at short, and based on how she played this past Saturday, Gonzalez said Serl should fill in nicely there.
The one other change the Lady Grizzlies must make this spring is at third. Emily Jones had been penciled in to play the hot corner, but she suffered a broken ankle in practice and most likely will miss the rest of the season. Gonzalez brought up Eleanor Garcia from the JV this past Saturday, and she filled in there as well as could have been expected. Gonzalez said Garcia was a second baseman on the JV, so will need some time to make the adjustment at third.
Sunnyside's varsity is scheduled to take on visiting Kiona-Benton in a single game this coming Thursday, beginning at 3:30 p.m.