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Grizzlies' rally comes up short against 1A Panthers

KENNEWICK - Despite scoring six runs in the final two innings of play yesterday, the Sunnyside High School baseball team fell to the 1A Riverview Panthers 9-7 in a non-league game yesterday (Wednesday).

The Panthers avenged an earlier loss this season when Sunnyside beat Riverview 7-4 on March 20.

Sunnyside scored first in the first inning to make it 1-0. Luis Valles received a walk and then stole second base. Travis Jones then came up to bat and smacked a single that drove home Valles.

Riverview came right back in the bottom half of the inning. Sunnyside starting pitcher Lane Pickel got the first two Riverview batters he faced out on strikes but then Brendan Hoch caught a Pickel hanging curve ball and knocked it out of the park for a home run, which tied the score at 1-1. Pickel then struck out the next batter.

In the second inning Pickel ran into trouble early. He gave up a double and then a walk to put two on the bases. A wild pitch allowed one Panther base runner to score and then Tucker Hamlin hit an RBI single to give Riverview a 3-1 lead.

Justin Reyes relieved Pickel to start the third inning of play. Reyes pitched well in the third and fourth innings, scattering two hits around, while holding the Panthers scoreless.

Hamlin scored two more runs in the fifth inning for Riverview on a base hit. Another hit, two walks and a wild pitch later, Riverview was up 7-1.

The Grizzlies made an attempt at a comeback in the top of the sixth inning, scoring five runs before Riverview could get three outs.

Jones led off with a single, Julian Rivera singled and then Leo Cuellar advanced to first base on a walk, which loaded the bases. The Riverview pitcher then balked, allowing Jones to come home. Chance Graff was then hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases again.

Omar Mantamoros, Trey Serl and Valles all picked up more walks. Sunnyside hit two singles in the inning but all five runs were scored on walks. By the time Riverview recorded three outs, Sunnyside had cut the Panthers' lead to one run, trailing 7-6.

The Panthers scored two runs off Sunnyside's Jaime Sarmiento in the sixth inning to pad its lead. The Grizzlies picked up one run in the seventh but the rally fell short.

The Grizzlies did well at the plate, getting five hits in the game and only striking out three times.

"That isn't bad," Sunnyside Coach Terry Shines said. "A couple of guys got caught looking."

More glaring was the fact that Sunnyside left eight runners on base.

"We didn't get hits at the crucial times," Shines said. "We can't continue to give teams five and six outs per inning. Whether they are ground balls or fly balls, we have to make the play."

Jones led the Grizzlies with two hits in yesterday's game. Valles, Rivera and Cuellar each had one hit apiece.

The loss drops Sunnyside's record to 2-7 overall. Sunnyside will start the meat of its league schedule on Friday, April 16, when the Grizzlies host the Pasco Bulldogs for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.

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