SELAH - For some clubs, closing out conference play against the league's No. 1 and 2 teams might not be considered a springboard heading into the District playoffs. But for the Sunnyside High School girls fastpitch softball team, the Lady Grizzlies relish the competition.
"I'm glad we're finishing league play against the top two teams in our league," said SHS Coach Kris Gonzalez. "We might not have given them much of a game at the beginning of the season.
"The way we're looking at it is, we want to show them we can be competitive against them, that we belong in the playoffs and can compete against anybody," she said.
This past Friday, facing second place Selah, the Lady Grizzlies gave the Vikings all they could handle. In the opener, Selah had to rally from a 2-1 deficit in the late going to pull out a 7-2 victory. The Vikes were clinging to a 3-0 lead in the twin bill finale before erupting for seven runs in the last inning of their 10-0 win.
"I thought we played 11 strong innings against Selah," said Gonzalez. "I thought we competed very well."
Sunnyside (4-7, 5-12) finishes regular season play this Tuesday afternoon at home against league leading Hanford. The District playoffs begin on Saturday.
In the opening 7-2 loss to Selah last Friday, the Lady Grizzlies made the Vikes sweat. Sunnyside rallied to tie the game at 1-all in the top of the third. Jenny Jones started the rally by drawing a walk, moving to second on a passed ball. Following a pair of strikeouts, Samantha Taylor clutched up and ripped a hot shot double down the right field line to drive in Jones.
Sunnyside forged a 2-1 lead on the Vikings in the top of the fourth. Victoria Solis, who was 2-for-3 in the game, doubled her way on base and moved to third on a sac bunt off the bat of Celeste Allen. Solis over-ran the bag, but on the pick-off throw an error was committed and Solis was able to scamper home with the go-ahead run.
"Victoria (Solis) has been playing real strong for us lately," Gonzalez said, explaining that heading into the Selah doubleheader the sophomore was hitting .378.
Selah fought back, though, plating three runs in the fifth to regain the lead at 4-2. The Vikes added a three-run outburst in the sixth to account for the final 7-2 score.
Up until the fifth inning, Sunnyside hurler Erika Garcia had done a creditable job of silencing Selah's bats. "But at the end, Selah started hitting her pretty good," said Gonzalez.
In Friday's nightcap, Glaspie and Jonas combined to two-hit the Lady Grizzlies. Sunnyside pitcher Viri Pasillas held Selah to just three runs through the first four frames, but seven singles and a pair of Lady Grizzly errors in the fifth spelled a seven-run uprising for the Vikings.