MATTAWA - A disastrous second inning in the opening game at a tournament in Mattawa this past Saturday cost Sunnyside Christian an opportunity to play in the championship contest.
The Lady Knights ended up dropping their opener, but rebounded for a pair of wins over the host Wahluke Warriors and Toppenish to claim a third place finish at the eight-school invite.
In its first game 10-3 loss to Warden, the eventual tournament runners-up, the Sunnyside Christian girls fastpitch softball team yielded six runs to the Cougars in the second frame. Two costly errors and two bases loaded walks by the Lady Knights, coupled with a two-run triple off the bat of Warden catcher Sophie Mora, allowed the Cougars to plate six runs in the second inning.
Sunnyside Christian rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth, thanks to singles by Tyssyna Van Wingerden and Emily Hernandez, but it wasn't enough to close the gap on Warden.
The pitcher for Warden, Karla Kottong, limited the Lady Knights to just three hits in the opener.
"After the second inning we played like we're capable of," said SCHS Coach Sandy Harris. "But we gave up too much in the second inning to come back against them.
"In softball that's all it takes, just one bad inning," she added.
The Lady Knights may have vented their frustrations on the host Warriors in the second contest, as they limited Wahluke to just one run on one hit in a 10-1 rout.
Hernandez, the SCHS pitcher who got roughed up by Warden in the opening game of the tourney, was firing on all cylinders against Wahluke. She fanned six while walking only one in throwing the one-hitter against the Warriors.
Sunnyside Christian scored all of the runs it would need against Wahluke with a four-run uprising in the top of the second. After Carly DeGroot and Hernandez got aboard on a pair of Warrior errors, Erica Smasne and Abby Berkompas drew a pair of walks. Brittany den Hoed and Tori Van Wingerden followed with RBI singles. The last Lady Knight run of the inning was pushed across the plate on a sac fly to left off the bat of Courtney Rice.
Sunnyside Christian added a four-run burst in the top of the fourth to end any suspense that might have been left. Rice's RBI single was the key blow in the frame.
Both, Rice and Tori Van Wingerden finished with 2-for-3 efforts at the plate against Wahluke.
The Lady Knights capped off tournament play Saturday with a 3-0 shutout of the Toppenish Wildcats. DeGroot twirled a two-hitter for the winners, fanning three along the way.
"Carly (DeGroot) played very well for us on Saturday," said Harris. "She pitched extremely well. The only walk she gave up in the two games she pitched came against Toppenish."
The victory over the Wildcats gave Sunnyside Christian a third place finish at the invite.
Offensively against Toppenish, den Hoed had the standout game for Sunnyside Christian. She ripped a solo home run to lead off the game, and in leading off the fifth inning she spanked a double to spark a two-run uprising. Along with den Hoed going 2-for-3 at the plate, teammate Tori Van Wingerden turned in a 2-for-3 performance.
With its two wins and one loss at the Wahluke tourney, the Lady Knights upped their season record to 4-3.
Sunnyside Christian opens 'B' league play tomorrow (Tuesday) at home with a doubleheader against Mabton.
SCHS 0 0 0 3 0 0 -3 3 4
Warden 2 6 0 1 1 x -10 10 1
Hernandez, DeGroot (3) and Ty. Van Wingerden. Kottong and Mora.
SCHS 0 4 0 4 2 0 -10 5 2
Wahluke 0 0 0 1 0 0 -1 1 5
Hernandez and Ty. Van Wingerden. Uran and Sabina. Hits-(SCHS) To. Van Wingerden 2/3, 2 RBI; Rice 2/3, 2 RBI.
Topp. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0 2 2
SCHS 1 0 0 0 2 0 x -3 7 2
Acosta and Chavez. DeGroot and Ty. Van Wingerden. Hits-(SCHS) den Hoed 2/3, HR, 2B; To. Van Wingerden 2/3.