RICHLAND - It was a contest for all of one inning. The rest of the game clearly belonged to Richland, as the Tri-Cities club handily defeated the Sun Valley 14/15-year-old Babe Ruth team 13-1 at Richland this past Friday.
The host ConAgra Foods team jumped out to a 4-0 first-inning lead and never looked back. Richland then shut the door for good with a nine-run outburst in the second inning.
"Errors," Sun Valley Coach Tom Schmick said of the second inning meltdown. "We've committed more errors in the past two games than in the first eight games combined."
Schmick attributed the miscues, and the Sunnyside club's current two-game losing streak, to inexperience in learning the game.
"We're trying people in different positions," he said. "We're letting kids play in different spots."
Sun Valley pushed across its lone run of the game in the third inning. With two outs, Travis Jones and Jonathan Hysell coaxed walks from the Richland hurler, and Lane Pickel followed with a clutch single to bring in the one run.
Pickel, Hysell and Jones collected Sun Valley's only hits against ConAgra pitching.
"Their kid had real good control," observed Schmick, who added that Sun Valley batters struck out six times during the five-inning contest.
Sun Valley (6-4) will look to get back on the winning track today, Tuesday and Wednesday, as they play three consecutive days.
The Sunnyside team will be home today at 5:30 p.m. to play Pasco on the JV field behind Harrison Middle School. Tuesday's game is on the road, and Wednesday's contest will be at home against Prosser, again at 5:30 p.m. on the JV field.
"We're going to stress pitching and defense," Schmick said of his team's focus as it prepares for this week. "Hopefully we can pick up were we left off during the first eight games.