A battle between last year's third and fourth place finishers at the 'B' State tournament went Morton's way this past Saturday.
The Sunnyside Christian girls fastpitch softball team came up on the short end of 10-2 and 8-5 scores.
Not making excuses for the season opening losses, it should be noted, however, that the Lady Knights were without their star hurler, Emily Hernandez. The senior was unavailable for the doubleheader because she was out of town, having been selected to play in an all-state basketball game.
Morton, third at State last spring, wasn't without its star player, though. Senior Vanessa Ramsey held Sunnyside Christian to two runs in the opening contest, scattering five hits and fanning 13 in the seven-inning affair. Ramsey also had a field day at the plate, ripping four doubles on the day while going 6-for-9 with a bat in her hands.
With Hernandez gone, SCHS Coach Sandy Harris went with Tori Van Wingerden on the pitching rubber in the first game, switching to Jacqui Roberts in the twin bill finale. For Van Wingerden, making her first ever start as pitcher, she yielded 10 runs, seven hits and eight walks while striking out four.
"Pitching for the first time ever, I thought Tori did pretty good," said Harris.
Roberts lasted six innings in the second contest before tiring. She and the Lady Knights actually had the lead on Morton through five frames, but a five-run explosion by the visitors in the sixth did in the home club.
In the nightcap, Sunnyside Christian battled back to within 3-2 by plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. Roberts had a two-run single to account for the two scores.
The Lady Knights tied the game at 3-all in the bottom of the third, thanks to a passed ball that let in a run. They went ahead in the bottom of the fifth by a 5-3 score, with a pair of singles off the bats of Van Wingerden and Courtney Rice the key blows in the frame. Morton's five-run uprising in the sixth accounted for the final 8-5 score.
In Saturday's opening 10-2 loss, Sunnyside Christian scored a single run in the fourth on an RBI single by Emma Newhouse, and another run in the sixth on a Newhouse RBI double.
The Lady Knights (0-2) are scheduled to host Zillah this Tuesday. This coming Saturday, Sunnyside Christian will entertain LaSalle for a doubleheader on the Lady Knights' home field.