UNION GAP - Granted, there were only two schools in the Greater Columbia 'B' League this spring that could field a girls fastpitch softball team, nonetheless the Sunnyside Christian Lady Knights secured the conference crown yesterday by splitting a doubleheader at LaSalle.
In the only other league match-up this spring between the two clubs, back on March 27, Sunnyside Christian swept the twin bill from the Lightning on the Lady Knights' home field. Yesterday's doubleheader split gives Sunnyside Christian a 3-1 record in the two-school fastpitch league, leaving LaSalle at 1-3.
Overall on the season, the Lady Knights are 15-3. Sunnyside Christian closes out regular season play this coming Saturday at home against the visiting DeSales Irish. The non-league doubleheader is slated to begin at 11 a.m.
In edging LaSalle by a 4-1 score in the opening game of yesterday's twin bill, the Lady Knights had to break up Torey Gonzalez's no-hitter through six innings. Gonzalez spun a scoreless masterpiece up until the seventh and final frame, allowing no hits while fanning eight and walking only one.
Her no-hit bid collided violently, however, with Emma Newhouse, Sunnyside Christian's lead-off batter in the seventh. Newhouse crushed a pitch that soared over the left fielder's head and rolled all the way to the fence, allowing the Lady Knight hitter to skip to second.
Perhaps shaken by the ringing double off the bat of Newhouse, Gonzalez then issued a walk to Hilari Bosma. The two Lady Knights then executed a double-steal.
"At that point we decided to go with our short game," said Sunnyside Christian Coach Sandy Harris, who signaled for Naomi den Hoed to lay down a bunt. She did, and in trying to throw den Hoed out at first the LaSalle infielder threw the ball away. Both Newhouse and Bosma ended up scoring on the miscue, giving the Lady Knights a 2-1 lead.
Sunnyside Christian pushed in two more runs in the seventh on singles by Julie Long, Melanie Van Wingerden and Jamie Sveen.
LaSalle plated its only run in the opener in the bottom of the fifth, without the benefit of a hit. Three Lightning batters coaxed walks out of the southpaw hurler Bosma, with one of the runners scoring when Sunnyside Christian committed one of its two errors in the game.
Other than that frame, however, Bosma kept LaSalle at bay. She scattered three hits while recording 10 strikeouts.
In Tuesday's nightcap, Bosma retook the pitching rubber for Sunnyside Christian, but the Lightning had her figured out by then. LaSalle pounded out seven hits in the first two innings, and coupled with four Lady Knight errors, the Lightning quickly went up 9-1.
Harris replaced her starting pitcher with Ashley Haak in the top of the third, who ran into trouble of her own in the bottom of the fourth. LaSalle plated five runs against Haak that frame, putting the game out of reach. The final score ended up 14-2 in LaSalle's favor. The game was called after the fifth due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Sunnyside Christian got the first of its two runs with an RBI single off the bat of Bosma in the top of the first. Van Wingerden, who was 2-for-2 in the closing game, plated the other score for the Lady Knights in the top of the fifth.
LaSalle was led in the nightcap by catcher Lauren Nichols, who went 3-for-3 with two doubles, a triple, two RBI and a walk.