The Grandview High School baseball team came to Sunnyside this past Saturday with a little pep in its step. But the Greyhounds couldn't overcome the powerful bats of the Grizzlies, as Sunnyside came away with a doubleheader sweep.
The Grizzlies won a competitive opening game 11-4, but blew Grandview out of the water in the nightcap with an 18-7 victory.
Sunnyside finished Mid-Valley League play 9-5, tied with Hanford for third place. The Grizzlies earned the third place seed as a result of holding all tiebreakers with the Falcons. Hanford will host the No. 2 seed out of the Frontier League this Saturday in a Regional playoff game. Sunnyside is scheduled to play the winner of Wednesday's Cheney vs. West Valley-Spokane game. The two schools will be playing for the No. 2 seed out of the Frontier League. Clarkston is the top seed out of the region.
In this past Saturday's doubleheader against Grandview, Sunnyside wasn't particularly overpowering, but where the Grizzlies excelled was from the fundamental side of the game. Sunnyside's bats were too much for the Greyhounds, tallying a combined 24 hits in the twin bill.
In the opener it looked as if the Greyhounds, who were still looking at capturing a postseason playoff berth, were going to run past Sunnyside, scoring three runs in the opening frame. However, Grizzly pitcher R.J. Elizondo kicked it into high gear in a solid complete game outing. After surrendering three runs in the first inning, two of which were earned, the Grizzly senior didn't give up a run until the seventh. Elizondo collected nine strikeouts along the way while tossing a six-hitter.
"It was a great outing for R.J.," said Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez. "We were real, real happy with him."
An important part of the opening game for Sunnyside actually occurred in the bottom of the first inning. Trailing 3-0 and with two outs, Michael Johnson and Nathan Anderson connected on back-to-back home runs. Martinez said that provided a huge momentum shift in the game.
Johnson also had a two-run homer in the fourth inning, going 2-for-3 for the game.
Sunnyside capped the game with a four-run sixth inning. Anderson laid down a bunt that ended up scoring two runs off a throwing error by the Greyhound pitcher. Derek Uberuaga then doubled to plate Anderson before scoring off a double from Tyler Esqueda.
The nightcap wasn't a particularly notable game for Uberuaga, who was the starting pitcher. Uberuaga went three innings, collecting eight strikeouts, but faced a lot of Greyhound batters.
The Greyhounds scored two runs in the first and third innings and then three runs in the fifth. One of the more notable outs for Uberuaga came in third inning when he threw the high heat to strike out a Grandview batter with the bases loaded.
The notable outing for the Grizzlies was from junior varsity player Tyler Cullen. With his first ever varsity outing on the mound, Cullen struck out three Grandview batters and allowed two hits.
"He has a very good curve ball," said Martinez of Cullen. "We were happy with what he did for this being his first varsity game.
The Grizzlies put together back-to-back four-run innings in the second and third. Pete Marquez had a sacrifice fly in the third inning along with RBI singles from Jessie Ramirez and Micah Zakahi. Chris Newberry hit into a groundout to score a run.
Uberuaga put an exclamation point on the game with a two-run homer in the sixth to end the doubleheader.
Grandview finished the season 2-12 in Mid-Valley League play.
Martinez said he is confident going into this weekend's playoff game.
"I am confident every time our guys go on the field," said Martinez.