Strong pitching, solid defense, timely hits. The Sunnyside Christian High School girls fastpitch softball team had it all yesterday.
An 11-2 victory over visiting Liberty Christian, the Lady Knights' first victory of the young 2005 spring season. Thursday's win squares Sunnyside Christian's record at 1-1 on the year.
Offensively, Sunnyside Christian banged out 10 hits in the seven-inning game. Three of them were for extra bases-the first an RBI double by Emily Hernandez in the third frame, the second a two-run double by freshman Emma Newhouse in the fifth and the last a leadoff triple in the sixth inning by Courtney Rice.
SCHS Coach Sandy Harris said she was pleased with the way her club was making contact at the plate, noting that her team had only one strikeout against the Richland-based Patriots.
Rice and sophomore Brittany den Hoed had the only multi-hit performances for Sunnyside Christian, as each came through with a pair of base knocks.
The Lady Knights' big inning came in the bottom of the fifth. Already ahead by a 6-2 count, Sunnyside Christian pushed four runs across the plate in the frame to forge an insurmountable 10-2 lead. Senior Tyssyna Van Wingerden started the four-run rally by drawing a walk. Following another walk to the junior Rice, Carly DeGroot laced an RBI single. Newhouse, coming in off the bench, made the most of her one plate appearance by following with a two-run double. Jacqui Roberts drove in the final run of the inning with a sac fly.
Defensively yesterday, the Lady Knights turned in a much better performance than they did two days earlier in their season opener at Zillah. All told, Sunnyside Christian committed just two errors against the Patriots. Both miscues occurred on the infield.
"I thought our defense picked up a lot yesterday," said Harris. "The girls looked much more comfortable out on the field."
Harris complimented the play of den Hoed, who was making her first ever start at third base. Harris said den Hoed played outfield as a freshman and is making the transition to the infield this season. "No errors in her first game at third, pretty impressive I thought," said Harris.
Pitching-wise, Hernandez and DeGroot combined to limit Liberty Christian to just three hits. Hernandez (1-1) earned the victory by pitching the first five innings. She walked none while fanning five. DeGroot allowed no hits in her two innings of work while striking out two and walking none.
"I was very happy with the way the two girls pitched," said Harris. "Especially with not giving up any walks this early in the season."
The Lady Knights are scheduled to resume their non-league schedule next Tuesday against visiting Kittitas. Sunnyside Christian will then enjoy a nearly two-week spring break before traveling to Grandview on April 12 for a single game.
LC 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 -2 3 1
SCHS 2 1 1 2 4 1 x -11 10 2
Roberts and Schafer. (1-1) Hernandez, DeGroot (6) and Ty. Van Wingerden. Hits-(SCHS) den Hoed 2/2; Rice 2/3, 3B; Newhouse 1/1, 2B.