It was a day of contrasts for the Sunnyside High School baseball team. In one game, the Grizzlies couldn't stop playing and in the other Sunnyside just didn't play.
The Grizzlies split a doubleheader this past Saturday with visiting Ellensburg. Sunnyside won the opener 8-4, but let an outstanding pitching performance from Tyler Cullen in the nightcap go by the roadside, losing 8-5.
"We should have swept," said Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez.
In the opener, the Grizzlies rallied behind pitcher Joel Zakahi, once he started to find his groove. The Grizzly hurler struggled for about an inning and a half, giving up four runs in the first two frames. But after a visit from his father, Nathan, the pitching coach for the Grizzlies, the Sunnyside hurler calmed down and cruised the rest of the way. Zakahi allowed six hits and recorded three strikeouts in six innings of work. Many of the three walks and three hit batters charged to Zakahi happened early in the game.
"After Joel settled down, we put the ball in play," said Martinez.
The Grizzlies answered the Bulldogs' three-run showing in the top of the first with a three-run spot of their own.
Sunnyside then took control of the game with a four-run third inning. With two outs, Sunnyside's Zach Marquez singled, which was followed by a walk going to Cullen. Pete Marquez then loaded the bases with a base hit. Chris Newberry cleared the bags with his three-run double, before scoring off a single from Cole Boboth.
Martinez said the first game was pretty solid for the Grizzlies, who had nine hits for the game.
"We hit the ball pretty hard," said Martinez.
The two errors Sunnyside had occurred in the seventh inning.
Martinez said Sunnyside took advantage of the opportunities it was given in the first game, something the Grizzlies didn't do in the nightcap.
Cullen, who tossed the last inning of the first game for Sunnyside, caught fire in the second game, getting the starting call.
In 5-2/3 innings of work, Cullen had seven strikeouts, four hits and two walks, and gave up just two earned runs.
"He did a great job," said Martinez.
But, with the Grizzlies leading 3-2, the end came for Cullen in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Cullen gave up a two-run home run that put the Bulldogs up for good.
"He left the ball over the middle of the plate," said Martinez. "Tyler has nothing to hang his head about. We should have scored a lot more runs for him."
The game fell apart for the Grizzlies in the top of the seventh, when the Bulldogs plated four runs. Ellensburg scored three of those runs when Sunnyside misplayed a ball in the outfield. On the relay home, the Grizzlies tried for a play at third base but the only problem was no one was covering the bag. The ball rolled to the fence, resulting in Ellensburg scoring three runs.
In Sunnyside's three-run first inning, Zakahi had a two-run single. Tyler Esqueda also had a sac fly that scored a run for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies didn't do such a hot job of manufacturing timely hits. Sunnyside left eight baserunners stranded in the game, including several at second base.
The Grizzlies (1-5, 5-7) travel to Hermiston this Thursday for a non-league game. Sunnyside will resume league play at Wapato on Saturday, April 30.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 T H E
Ellensburg 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 6 3
Sunnyside 3 0 4 0 0 1 x 8 9 2
Pitching-Joel Zakahi six hits, three strikeouts, three walks and three hit batters. Tyler Cullen one walk in one inning.
Hitting-Zach Marquez 1-for-2. Chris Newberry 2-for-3. Eric Crimp 1-for-3. Pete Marquez 2-for-4. Cole Boboth 2-for-4. Tyler Esqueda 1-for-4.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 T H E
Ellensburg 0 2 0 0 0 2 4 8 6 1
Sunnyside 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 5 5 4
Pitching-Tyler Cullen seven strikeouts, four hits, two walks in 5-2/3 innings. Tyler Esqueda one strikeouts, three walks in 2/3 innings. Cole Boboth two hits, one walk in 2/3 innings.