WEST RICHLAND - It is not every season a team can say it was in the upper echelon, but that is probably little consolation for the Sunnyside High School baseball team.
One heart-breaking inning put an end to the Grizzlies season this past Saturday, leaving Sunnyside one-game short of qualifying for State.
Sunnyside and West Valley-Spokane squared off Saturday morning for the third and final State playoff berth. The Eagles used a six-run fourth inning to eliminate the Grizzlies 7-3.
The difference in the game, said Grizzly Coach Dave Martinez, was a three-run homer the Eagles crushed in the fourth that took the air out of the Grizzlies.
Sunnyside pitcher Micah Zakahi was cruising along until the fourth with a one-hitter. With the score 1-1, West Valley-Spokane capitalized on an error to score a pair of runs. The Eagles later in the inning came up with the three-run homer over the left field fence with two outs.
Zakahi was particularly strong early on in the game, as he retired the West Valley-Spokane batters in order in the second and third innings.
Sunnyside scored its first run of the game in the top of the fourth when Nathan Anderson came home off a double from Derek Uberuaga.
Anderson swung a solid bat for Sunnyside on Saturday, going 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Grizzlies' other pair of runs came in the top of the sixth when Michael Johnson and Anderson belted back-to-back home runs out of the park.
Martinez said his team played strong. He said it was the type of game where the team with the big inning was going to come out on top.
Martinez felt both Zakahi and Uberuaga pitched well for the Grizzlies against a competitive team.
"The kids have nothing to hang their heads about," said Martinez. "They have done everything I have asked them to do."
The Grizzlies finished their 2004 campaign 9-5 in Mid-Valley League pay and 13-10 overall. Sunnyside loses nine seniors, including five varsity players, off this year's squad.
"I am proud of everything these kids have accomplished," said Martinez.