RICHLAND - In its first regular season action of the season, the Sunnyside High School baseball team found it tough going against host Hanford yesterday, Tuesday.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Sunnyside lost 11-2. Grizzly pitcher Tristan Abbott kept the Suns at bay for most of the game, but a five-run outburst in the second inning proved more than enough for Hanford.
"Tristan did really well," said Coach Terry Shines. "He had a four-pitch inning and didn't have any walks."
Shines said a Grizzly fielding miscue proved costly in the second inning.
The five runs were more than enough for Hanford pitching, which held the Grizzlies to just two base hits.
"Their pitcher threw a lot of curve balls and we couldn't hit them," Shines said, noting that Grizzly batters struck out nine times, four of them caught looking.
Sunnyside's offense posted single runs in the third and seventh innings. The Grizzlies' first run came when Jasper Rubalcava doubled home a run in the third inning.
The final Sunnyside score came in the seventh inning when Andre Sarmiento delivered an RBI single with two runners aboard.
The host Falcons made sure game two went just the minimum five innings by posting a 24-0 victory. Hanford struck for an 11-0 lead over Sunnyside through the first three innings, then removed all doubt with a 12-run outburst in the fourth frame.
Sunnyside mustered three hits for the game and the Grizzlies' got one runner, Oscar Hernandez, as far as second base.
Things don't get easier for the Grizzlies (0-2) as this Friday they will host defending State champion Kennewick.
Between now and then, Shines said Grizzly batters will look to make more contact. "We couldn't hit a curve ball," he said of Tuesday's combined output of two runs and five hits in the two games.
As for Sunnyside pitching, Shines said he will work with his hurlers to remind them "they don't have to strike people out." He added, "Make them (opposing batters) swing the bat where we want them to swing it."
The Grizzlies also need to re-tool for a more consistent effort on defense, Shines said.
"We can't give people six outs," he said. "We had some great plays, we had a pick-off, then after that we'd go boom-boom, four runs off a dropped fly ball."