The first game was a blowout from the get-go. The second contest...one that got away from the Grizzlies late.
The Sunnyside High School baseball team opened Mid-Valley League play this past Saturday by dropping both ends of a doubleheader to the visiting Selah Vikings. The two losses couldn't have been more different.
Selah scored eight runs in the first inning of Saturday's opener enroute to torching the Grizzlies 16-1.
In the nightcap, Sunnyside forged a 2-1 lead through five innings, due chiefly to the pitching prowess of senior Joel Zakahi. His efforts went for naught, however, as the Vikings plated three runs in the top of the sixth off three wild pitches served up by reliever Timmy Briones. Selah, extending its momentum, added five more runs in the top of the seventh to post a 9-2 win.
"It was a heartbreaker," Sunnyside Coach Dave Martinez said of the Grizzlies' late game collapse.
Zakahi yielded only four hits to Selah in his five and a third innings of work, and two of those were just bunt singles. He also had allowed just one run through the first five frames. The Vikings got a rally going in the top of the sixth, though, so Martinez opted to pull his ace. In came Briones, making his season debut.
Selah greeted the senior by plating three runs, all on wild pitches. Briones, who looked sharp in practice earlier in the week throwing in live play, didn't fare any better in the seventh, as Jake Zeutenhorst capped off a five-run burst with a two-run homer. Briones' younger brother, the sophomore Gibby, was called upon to get the Grizzlies out of the seventh inning jam.
After Selah plated a lone tally in the top of the fourth, Sunnyside got Zakahi a 2-1 lead by bouncing back for two runs of its own in the bottom half of the fourth. Lucas Ramos started the Grizzly rally by singling his way aboard. Following a sac bunt by Nathan Cornelius, who was 3-for-4 on the day, the elder Briones singled to put runners on the corners. Back-to-back RBI singles by Zach Marquez and Josue Alvarez pushed in Ramos and Briones.
Zakahi (1-1) made the 2-1 lead stand up in the fifth, but he ended up absorbing the loss, after putting on the tying and winning runs in the top of the sixth, when the three wild pitches by Briones allowed them to cross the plate.
Sunnyside didn't help its own cause any by committing four errors in the nightcap.
By the same token, the Grizzlies had four miscues in the opener. Not that they really figured in, though, as Selah exploded for 15 hits in taking the first game 16-1.
Sunnyside's starting hurler in the first game, Cole Boboth, struggled in getting his curve over the plate for a strike. That allowed Selah to sit back and wait on Boboth's fast ball.
"With a team like Selah, you can't do that," said Martinez. "They know how to hit a fast ball."
Boboth was unable to get out of the first, and by the time reliever B.J. Miller was able to extinquish the first frame uprising, the Vikings had pushed in eight runs.
Zeutenhorst and Nick Hayter each went 3-for-4 at the plate in the opener for Selah, combining for three doubles that game.
The lone Grizzly to have a multi-hit game in the first game was Cornelius, who went 2-for-2 with a double in the fourth.
Sunnyside averted a shutout in the opener by plating a run in the bottom of the fifth. Anthony Palomarez and the younger Briones singled that frame. Following a passed ball, Boboth lofted a sac fly to score Palomarez.
The Grizzlies (0-2, 1-5-1) aim to bounce back when they take on the Rams in West Valley this coming Saturday.
"We can do one of two things after losses like these (against Selah)," said Martinez. "We can fold up our tent, or we can battle back.
"With the type of kids we have, they're going to battle back," he vowed.
Selah 8 2 3 2 1 -16 15 1
S'side 0 0 0 0 1 -1 6 4
WP-Welton. LP-Boboth (0-1).
Welton, Cousins (4) and Jenkins. Boboth, Miller (1), Engel (3) and Marquez. Selah highlights:: Zeutenhorst 3/4, (2) 2B, Hayter 3/4, 2B. Sunnyside highlights: Cornelius 2/2, 2B.
Selah 0 0 0 1 0 3 5 -9 10 0
SHS 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 -2 6 4
WP-Welton. LP-Zakahi (1-1).
Hayes, Welton (4) and Jenkins. Zakahi, T. Briones (6), G. Briones (7) and Marquez. Selah highlights: Zeutenhorst 1/4, HR, Archer 2/4.