UNION GAP - Heading into the 2010 spring campaign, Sunnyside Christian fans knew that at some point during the season they were going to get to see the workhorse that most likely was going to be carrying the banner for the Lady Knight fastpitch softball team for the next three years.
Yesterday afternoon in Union Gap on the LaSalle Lightning diamond, Lady Knight fans got their first true glimpse of what the future might hold.
Freshman phenom Makayla Morrow twirled an overpowering, three-hit shutout in the nightcap while turning in a 3-for-3 offensive performance. The 9-0 victory over the 2B Lightning completed a doubleheader sweep for the Lady Knights, as they disposed of LaSalle by a 7-3 count in Tuesday's opener.
The two non-league wins for 1B Sunnyside Christian improved the club's overall record to 6-1. The Lady Knights' next scheduled competition is next Tuesday, April 20, at Klickitat, the league opener for both teams.
In besting LaSalle in the twin bill finale yesterday, Morrow was nearly untouchable from the pitching rubber. She allowed just three hits in going the distance, her first complete game outing of the season. The fairly tall and spindly underclassman, relying mostly on fastballs, walked only two while setting down 14 LaSalle batters on strikes.
"It was a very nice outing for her," SCHS Coach Sandy Harris said of Morrow's performance.
"She threw lots of fastballs and had real decent control. She's becoming more comfortable with each trip out there.
"It definitely was her best outing so far," Harris said.
Morrow aided her own cause greatly in the nightcap by slapping three hits in three official trips to the plate off LaSalle's No. 2 hurler, Carly Statler. One of Morrow's hits was a fifth inning double, although she got left stranded on the bases that frame.
Sunnyside Christian got all the runs it would need in the second game with a four-run uprising in the top of the first. Joleen Van Wingerden and Analisa Van Oostrum each drew walks in the frame, two of the nine free passes issued by Statler in the game. Morrow and Ashley Haak also came through with singles that inning. Statler, who had three wild pitches in that first inning that led to runs, wasn't helped any either by the one error her teammates committed, one of two miscues the Lightning had in game two.
The Lady Knights added on a single tally in the top of the third and then plated three more runs in the sixth enroute to posting the 9-0 shutout.
Of the six hits Statler yielded, three were off the bat of Morrow. No other Lady Knight had more than one hit in the nightcap. Of the nine batters Statler put on the bags via base-on-balls, six scored.
Game one Tuesday afternoon was a bit of a different story, as the two teams combined for 18 hits.
The Lightning actually outhit visiting Sunnyside Christian by a 10 to 8 margin, "...but LaSalle couldn't string their hits together off our pitcher, Ashley Haak," said Harris.
In scattering the 10 game one hits, Haak walked none while fanning four batters.
LaSalle took the early lead in the opener, plating two runs in the bottom of the first. An infield error by the Lady Knights, one of three they made in the game, led to the two early scores.
The Christian girls countered with single tallies in both the second and third frames to knot the score at 2-2, fell behind by a single run in the bottom of the fourth, but then socked the game away with a five-run explosion in the top of the fifth.
Katie Long started the fifth frame rally for the Lady Knights with a single. Julie Long and Alyssa Haak added RBI singles, with the key blow being a two-run single off the bat of Ashley Haak. A walk issued by LaSalle's No. 1 pitcher, Tori Gonzalez, and the second error of the game by the Lightning contributed to the five-run uprising by Sunnyside Christian.
Haak pitched shutout ball over the course of the last three innings to preserve the 7-3 win.
Offensively in game one, the two Haak sisters each went 2-for-4 with a combined three RBI. In the losing cause, Gonzalez, Rachel Gasseling and Quesnell each banged out a pair of hits.
Overall in the two games yesterday, said Harris, her club displayed a lot of enthusiasm.
"We played with a lot more energy than I'd seen from the team earlier this season.
"And it was nice to cut our errors down from our game last Saturday, when we had five, to just three errors in the first game yesterday and no errors in Tuesday's nightcap," she added.