There is some truth in playing to the level of your competition. Clearly the better club, the Sunnyside Christian High School girls fastpitch softball team turned in an effort last Saturday that was well below its standards.
In the end, though, the Lady Knights 10-runned a combined squad from White Pass and Morton, 15-5.
The non-league victory closes out a five-game home stand for Sunnyside Christian (4-1). The Lady Knights take to the road for the first time this season tomorrow at LaSalle. Tuesday's doubleheader against the Lightning is the first of three consecutive road trips, all twin bills, for Sunnyside Christian.
"It will be interesting to see how the girls perform on the road," said SCHS Coach Sandy Harris. "Especially coming off a game that wasn't' anywhere close to our best of the season."
The Lady Knights bested the visiting White Pass/Morton team on Saturday by a 10-run margin, despite committing five errors in the game and only coming through with five hits off a hurler that could bring no real velocity to the plate with her pitches.
"I know it sounds weird, but when you face a pitcher whose pitches are that slow sometimes it's tough to get the bat on the ball," said Harris. "The girls are used to seeing faster pitches. Basically, I think their timing was off with the slower pitches on Saturday."
The key for Sunnyside Christian in picking up the win last Saturday was taking advantage of the 15 walks issued by the hurler McCoy. It also didn't help White Pass/Morton's cause that at least nine of the Lady Knights' 15 runs were the result of passed balls.
McCoy's counterpart, Sunnyside Christian pitcher Ashley Haak, provided a stark contrast with her performance, however. Haak was only touched for two hits while walking just one and fanning four batters along the way.
Oddly, White Pass/Morton took the early lead in Saturday game by slipping two runs across the plate in the top of the first. Lauren Hanson had a single in the frame for the visitors, but the two Sunnyside Christian errors that inning were the real culprit for the early uprising by the road team.
The Lady Knights cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom half of the first, then took the lead for good in the second frame with a five-run explosion.
White Pass/Morton, using the three miscues committed by the Lady Knights in the field and getting another run scoring single from Hanson, drew to within 6-5 in the top of the third.
Any suspense in terms of the final outcome was ended in the bottom of the third when Sunnyside Christian pushed four runs across the plate to go up 10-5. A single tally in the fourth increased the Lady Knights' advantage to 11-5, then the game was halted in the bottom of the sixth when Sunnyside Christian scored four more runs to forge a 15-5 lead. The 10-run mercy rule went into effect at that point.
Julie Long turned out to be the offensive leader for the winners, ironically without the benefit of a single base hit. She plated four runs for the Lady Knights, thanks to drawing a pair of walks and reaching base twice on a dropped third strike and a fielder's choice.
Sunnyside Christian teammate Janelle DeGroot scampered home twice while going 1-for-2 at the plate, the one hit being an RBI single in the bottom of the third.
The Lady Knights' rising star, freshman Makayla Morrow, also scored a pair of runs in the winning cause, with her biggest contribution being a lead-off single in the bottom of the sixth, when Sunnyside Christian put the game away with four tallies.
The one other Lady Knight who scored twice was Analisa Van Oostrum. She had a single in the third inning and had one stolen base to her credit.
Saturday's encounter with White Pass/Morton was scheduled to be a doubleheader. The decision was made to play just one game, though, when the visiting pitcher, McCoy, was struck in the face with a ball. She stuck it out on the pitching rubber for the final three innings of the opener, but after the game there was concern that some of her teeth had been damaged and a trip to an orthodontist might be warranted.
The visiting club only brought nine players to Sunnyside for the two contests, hence the decision was made to cancel the second game of the twin bill considering White Pass/Morton had just eight girls at its disposal.