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Grizzlies split weekend games

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Derek Uberuaga got the call on opening day for the Grizzlies this past Friday. Sunnyside split its weekend opening games, losing a close one Friday night to Hermiston and then beating East Valley Saturday.

Considering last Friday and Saturday would normally be the weekend the Sunnyside High School baseball team would be playing in a jamboree setting to work out all the kinks, the Grizzlies didn't have too bad of a start to the 2005 season.

Sunnyside wasn't able to take part in any jamboree games because of a WIAA change in the start and finish of the spring sports season.

The Grizzlies played well in a 5-3 non-league loss to Hermiston before a capacity crowd at home Friday afternoon. Sunnyside rebounded on Saturday while overcoming dismal weather to down East Valley 5-4.

Some of the rust that would normally be worked out at a jamboree was evident in Friday's loss to Hermiston.

The Grizzlies committed four errors. Of the five runs Hermiston scored only one was earned.

"There is a lot of positive things we can take out of it," said Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez of Friday's loss.

Hermiston put a pair of runs on the board in both the fourth and fifth innings and added an insurance run in the top of the sixth.

The Grizzlies didn't get on the board until the bottom of the seventh with a three-run spot. Sunnyside ended the game with the bases loaded. The only strikeout Sunnyside had in the game was the last at-bat that ended the contest.

"We put the ball in play," said Martinez. "They made all the routine plays and we didn't."

Martinez said Hermiston was making solid plays on everything Sunnyside hit.

Three of the six hits the Grizzlies had in the game didn't come until the seventh inning.

"We really didn't start hitting the ball until that last inning," said Martinez.

In the seventh inning, Sunnyside's Cole Boboth doubled and then scored off a groundout by Tyler Esqueda. Derek Uberuaga then belted a two-run homer that also plated Chris Newberry, who had reached on an error earlier in the inning.

Uberuaga started the game on the mound and was working off a pitch count of 80 before he was pulled in the fourth inning. Uberuaga wasn't his usual self on the mound, giving up six walks, two of which scored, but got out of jams when he needed to do so. Uberuaga did have four strikeouts. Esqueda finished out the game, giving up a solo home run in the sixth inning. He allowed just two hits and had two strikeouts.

Weather was a big factor Saturday, said Martinez, as the rainy conditions made for miserable play.

Most of the offensive damage by both teams on Saturday was done early.

East Valley scored one run in the first and plated two runs in the second.

The Grizzlies put up a two-spot in the first inning and scored three runs in the top of the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Timmy Briones laid down a squeeze bunt in the third inning that scored Uberuaga, who had walked earlier. Joel Zakahi then sent a trickler up the middle of the field to plate Eric Crimp and Esqueda, both of whom had singled earlier.

Tyler Cullen had an interesting day. Cullen was the starting pitcher for the Grizzlies, going 3-1/3 innings. But it was Cullen who would provide the final dramatics for Sunnyside. With the bases loaded, Zakahi got East Valley's number three batter to pop up to Cullen, who was standing behind second base, to get the final out.

Martinez was pleased with the nine hits the Grizzlies racked up, but said his bats still have some work to do.

All-in-all, Martinez said it wasn't a bad start to the season for his Grizzlies.

"I was pretty happy," said Martinez.

The Grizzlies (0-0, 1-1) travel to Naches on Tuesday.

"Naches will be competitive," said Martinez.

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