It's simple. Win and you're in. Lose and pack up the gear and call it good until next spring.
That's the scenario facing the Sunnyside High School girls fastpitch softball team this coming Thursday. By dropping both ends of a doubleheader to Prosser yesterday, Sunnyside is now faced with a must-win game against Wapato to get to the District tournament.
Both, Sunnyside and Wapato finished their Mid-Valley League campaigns with 1-11 marks. The winner of this coming Thursday's playoff game between the two cellar dwellers will advance to the postseason, the loser will have their season ended.
Thursday's match-up will be hosted by the Lady Grizzlies, with game time set for 5 p.m.
"It would be nice to have some fans at the game," said first year Sunnyside Coach Ralph Mendoza.
"We know Wapato's batters are aggressive," he added. "We have to play some solid defense."
Mendoza's crew didn't exactly play stellar defense against Prosser yesterday. All told, the Lady Grizzlies committed nine errors in the twin bill.
The five miscues in Tuesday's opening game led to four unearned Prosser runs, which gave the Mustangs a 6-4 victory.
"Oh yes, the errors definitely figured in," said Mendoza.
Prosser forged a 5-0 lead on the Lady Grizzlies through the first three innings of the opener, but Sunnyside got back into the game with a two-run fourth. After Lacey Yanez and Samantha Taylor singled, pinch hitter Amanda Montelongo cranked a shot up the middle to score both runners.
The 'Stangs countered with a single run in the top of the fifth to push their advantage to 6-2, but Sunnyside closed again in the bottom half of the sixth, plating two more scores. Montelongo started the late game rally by drawing a walk, and Crystal Soto followed with a single. Jessica Cruz then delivered, spanking a two-run single to get the Lady Grizzlies within 6-4.
Unfortunately for Sunnyside, that ended up as the final score. Ironically, the Lady Grizzlies outhit Prosser in the first game by an 8 to 6 margin.
Sunnyside also outhit the visiting Mustangs in the twin bill finale, smacking 16 compared to the 12 hits Prosser had. Somehow, though, the Mustangs pulled out a 10-5 victory.
"We were hitting the ball hard," said Mendoza. "But the softball gods weren't with us," he said, explaining that little things went against his club. One example he cited was one of his baserunners getting hit by a ball, that if she had been able to avoid would have scored two runners.
The bottom line, he said, was that Sunnyside left two many runners on base. "There were two times we left the bases loaded," said Mendoza.
Devina Martinez had the hottest bat of all the Lady Grizzlies the second game. She ripped three hits in four trips to the plate, one of which was a double in the fourth inning. Coming through with two hits apiece for Sunnyside were Cruz, Yanez, Taylor, Soto and Marina Martinez.