ZILLAH - A pair of convincing wins at the District tournament in Zilla this past Saturday makes the Sunnyside Christian High School girls fastpitch softball team the favorite to advance from this coming Saturday's Regional tourney to State.
The Lady Knights swamped the Klickitat Vandals, 12-2, in the opening game at District. Sunnyside Christian then earned the Regional berth with a rock-solid 5-1 victory over Mabton.
At Regionals this coming Saturday, to be staged in Ellensburg on the Central Washington University softball fields, Sunnyside Christian opens against Kittitas at 10 a.m. in a loser-out contest. A win against the Coyotes would secure the Lady Knights a State berth.
Sunnyside Christian upped its season record to 19-3 with last Saturday's two District wins. The two victories also gives the Lady Knights a 17-game winning streak.
In the 12-2 victory over Klickitat, the Lady Knights' fifth win of the season against the Vandals, senior Tyssyna Van Wingerden and junior Emily Hernandez each banged out three hits. The game was shortened to five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
Sunnyside Christian was clinging to a 2-1 lead over the Vandals, thanks to Hernandez's first inning two-run triple, when the Lady Knights took their third at-bat of the game. The outcome was never in doubt after Sunnyside Christian plated six runs in the bottom half of the third. Freshman Emma Newhouse had the key hit of the frame, driving in three runs with a single. Sophomore Abby Berkompas added an RBI single that inning.
The Lady Knights added a pair of two-spots in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Hurler Carly DeGroot picked up the 12-2 win over Klickitat, scattering five hits, fanning three and walking only two.
All told, Sunnyside Christian came up with nine hits against Vandals pitcher Sherry Brewer. The Lady Knights also drew eight walks against Brewer.
Against Mabton, the Lady Knights rapped nine more hits and took advantage of four base-on-balls issued by Lady Viking pitcher Alida Mendoza. Brittany den Hoed and Tori Van Wingerden each had two hits for Sunnyside Christian in its 5-1 win over Mabton.
The Lady Knights broke a scoreless deadlock against Mabton by pushing three runs across the plate in the bottom of the fourth. Hernandez started the rally by singling her way aboard. After a strikeout and a groundout, Berkompas drove in Hernandez with a single. Berkompas eventually scored on a passed ball. Tori Van Wingerden also had an RBI single in the frame.
An error by Sunnyside Christian in the top of the fifth, one of three miscues the Lady Knights had in the game, allowed Mabton to score a run. Sunnyside Christian responded with two more runs in the bottom half of the sixth to account for the final 5-1 score. Courtney Rice drove in the two sixth inning runs with a ringing double to left-center field.
Hernandez was the winning game two pitcher for Sunnyside Christian. She limited Mabton to three hits, fanning four and walking two along the way.
With the loss to Sunnyside Christian, Mabton was forced to play Lyle for this District's No. 2 berth to Regionals. The Lady Vikings had beaten Lyle in all four previous match-ups this season, but on Saturday the Cougars blanked Mabton to end the Lady Vikings' season.
In looking ahead to this coming Saturday's Regional tourney, SCHS Coach Sandy Harris said she expects much more of a challenge from Kittitas than the first time this season the two clubs played. It was back on March 29 that the Lady Knights blanked Kittitas, 12-0.
"That was our third game of the season, but it was the season opener for Kittitas," said Harris. "They were still trying to shake the rust off."
(First round District game)
Klickitat 0 0 1 0 1 -2 5 1
S'side Christian 2 0 6 2 2 -12 9 2
Brewer and Huwe. DeGroot and Ty. Van Wingerden. Hits-(SCHS) Hernandez 3/3, 3 RBI, 3B; Ty. Van Wingerden 3/4, 2B; Newhouse 1/3, 3 RBI; Berkompas 1/3, RBI; Roberts 1/1, 2 BB.
(Second round District game)
Mabton 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 -1 3 0
SCHS 0 0 0 3 0 2 x -5 9 3
A. Mendoza and Orozco. Hernandez and Ty. Van Wingerden. Hits-(SCHS) To. Van Wingerden 2/4, 2 RBI; den Hoed 2/3.