Truth be told, the Sunnyside Grizzlies had already circled the wagons Wednesday afternoon in hopes of averting a massacre.
Down 7-0 heading into their next to last at-bat, the Sunnyside High School baseball team somehow rose from the ashes and pulled out a thrilling 8-7 decision. The victory gave the home team a sweep of the visiting Rochester Warriors, whom the Grizzlies defeated by a 4-1 score the day before.
In mounting yesterday's comeback, the Grizzlies took advantage of a Rochester error, a hit batter and a passed ball-along with a pair of RBI singles off the bats of Timmy Briones and Cole Boboth-to pull within 7-3 in the bottom half of the sixth.
That set the stage for an unlikely five-run explosion in the home half of the seventh. The last inning rally began with Joel Zakahi rapping a one-out single, his second base hit of the game. Following a walk to Diego Burgueno, Briones got aboard on an error by the Rochester shortstop, one of five miscues the Warriors committed yesterday. Zakahi scampered home on the play to draw Sunnyside to within 7-4. Boboth then singled to load the bases, who like Zakahi had two hits yesterday.
That brought up designated hitter Zach Marquez, who got credited with an RBI when his bat struck the catcher's mitt on a looping, powerhouse swing. Marquez was given first base on the interference call, which reloaded the bags.
Lucas Ramos then delivered the biggest hit of the game for the Grizzlies, tying things at 7-7 by delivering a two-run single. It was his second hit of the contest.
On the hot shot liner to the outfield by Ramos, Marquez mistakenly pulled up at second. But when teammate Cameron Boboth next came to the plate and chopped a hard swinging bunt out in front of the dish, Marquez was moving hard on the play and had third easily. Marquez's aggressive base running allowed him to skip home with the winning run when the Rochester catcher fielded the bunt and overthrew the first baseman.
A lesson to be learned from yesterday's come-from-behind victory?
Definitely, according to Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez. "You get 21 outs (in a high school game)," he said.
"One of the positives from the game was that our kids competed and kept fighting," Martinez added.
Early on, however, there didn't appear to be a lot of fight in the Grizzlies.
Rochester pushed single runs across the plate in the second and fourth innings, then pounded what appeared to be the third nail in the coffin by piling up five more runs in the top of the fifth.
Sunnyside offered up little offense of its own through the first five frames, settling on four hits during that stretch that never amounted to any kind of a rally.
The Grizzlies' efforts from the mound drew mixed reviews. Sunnyside's ace, Zakahi, worked the first three innings and basically put a lid on the Warriors. He allowed the one unearned run in the second, thanks to one of two errors Sunnyside committed in the game, and only gave up a single hit while walking one and fanning two. Zakahi's replacement, B.J. Miller, got into trouble in the fourth when Rochester loaded the bases. Martinez credits Miller with toughing it out, though, as he held the Warriors to just one run that inning.
Briones, who took the hill with one out in the fifth, didn't fare as well. The senior got lit up for five runs in the frame, yielding four hits and three walks along the way.
"Sometimes you don't have your best stuff," Martinez said of Briones' performance.
Boboth was on, though, when he took over for Briones in the top of the sixth, and he slammed the door on the Warriors, pitching shutout ball the final two innings.
Defensively, Boboth's younger brother, Cameron, had the gems of the day. Playing second base, he speared two sizzling line drives and converted both into double plays. Both defensive highlights came when Rochester was threatening to blow the game wide open.
In looking ahead to this Saturday's Mid-Valley League doubleheader at Ellensburg, Martinez said he's hoping his Grizzlies will use the momentum they established in yesterday's late innings to subdue the Bulldogs early.
Sunnyside, currently at 0-4 in the conference standings, improved to 3-7-1 overall on the season with Wednesday's comeback win over Rochester.
Roch. 0 1 0 1 5 0 0 -7 7 5
S'side 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 -8 10 2
WP-Cole Boboth (1-1). LP-Eastman. Everson, Eastman (6) and Knutz; Zakahi, Miller (4), T. Briones (5), Co. Boboth (6) and Burgueno. Rochester highlights: Mortenson 2/4. Sunnyside highlights: Zakahi 2/4, Co. Boboth 2/4, Ramos 2/4.