MABTON - A total of 17 free passes issued by Mabton's two starting pitchers allowed the Sunnyside Christian girls fastpitch softball team to claim a pair of non-league victories yesterday afternoon.
The Lady Knights held on in the opener, after holding Mabton to no runs through the first six innings, to notch an 8-5 win. Game two was all Sunnyside Christian, though, as the Lady Vikings succumbed by a 13-1 score.
The game two thumping of Mabton was due in large part to the efforts of freshman hurler Makayla Morrow. The Sunnyside Christian underclassman twirled a two-hitter in going the distance in the 13-1 victory. She fanned eight Mabton batters along the way while yielding just two walks.
The two hits Morrow did give up both belonged to Jackie Cruz. One of Cruz's hits, a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, accounted for the Lady Vikes' only run in the nightcap.
Morrow helped her own cause in the twin bill finale by going 2-for-4 at the plate. One of those hits, a single, drove in a pair of runs in the opening frame.
Also turning in a 2-for-4 effort in game two was Sunnyside Christian's Analisa Van Oostrum, who like Morrow drove in a pair of runs.
Sunnyside Christian, after scoring three times in the opening inning, socked game two away with a five-run explosion in the third frame. Joleen Van Wingerden started the uprising with a triple. Following her with base hits were Van Oostrum, Gabby Fillicetti and Alyssa Haak. Also in the third inning, Katie Long was credited with a run-scoring sac fly and her sister, Julie Long, drew a walk
The Lady Knights added on a five-run outburst in the top of the sixth to account for the final 13-1 score.
Mabton pitcher Mela Alcala went the distance in the second game. She ended up getting touched for nine hits and allowed the same number of batters to reach base via walks.
Jazzee Sustaita drew the pitching assignment for Mabton in Tuesday's opener. Like her pitching counterpart, Alcala, Sustaita got roughed up for nine hits and also put eight Sunnyside Christian batters on first with base-on-balls.
The difference between the two pitching performances, however, is that Sustaita time and again got the Lady Vikes out of jams.
"We left 14 girls on base in the opener," said SCHS Coach Sandy Harris, explaining that Sustaita's four strikeouts, most coming in crucial situations, were largely responsible for that.
Still, the Lady Knights nickel-and-dimed Sustaita and the Mabton defense for two runs in the first inning, single scores in the second and fourth frames, and two more tallies in both the fifth and sixth innings. The Long sisters played a big part in the eight-run barrage, as each went 2-for-3 at the plate while combining for three RBI. Morrow also had a two-run home run for the winners, that coming in the top of the sixth.
Game one seemed out of reach for Mabton as the Lady Knights held an 8-0 lead heading into the home team's final at-bat. But, the Lady Vikes came alive in the bottom of the seventh, scraping together five of the seven hits they managed off hurler Ashley Haak while pushing five runs across the dish.
The seventh inning rally featured singles by Cruz, Sustaita, Alcala and Cari Diaz, as well as a two-run double off the bat of Adilene Barajas.
Mabton brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but the rally ended there.
Harris said the Mabton batters finally got their timing down on her starting pitcher, Haak, in the seventh frame, and coupled with "...some pretty sloppy defense by us there at the end," the Lady Vikings made a game out of it before finally falling by the 8-5 count.
Leading Mabton at the plate in game two was the pitcher Sustaita, who went 3-for-4.
Mabton Coach Jesus Sustaita said the nine errors his club committed yesterday were chiefly responsible for the Lady Vikings dropping both ends of the twin bill.
"There are some simple fundamentals we need to work on," he said.
The two wins yesterday by Sunnyside Christian improved the team's overall record on the season to 10-1. The Lady Knights will next take on the visiting LaSalle Lightning on Thursday, May 6.
Mabton, which fell to 4-9 with yesterday's two non-league losses, is scheduled to jump back into SCAC league play this coming Friday against the visiting Goldendale Timberwolves.