The 3A Sunnyside Grizzly baseball team played its first regulation game of the season yesterday, Tuesday. The Grizzlies sustained a 14-8 home loss to 1A Riverview.
Sunnyside enjoyed a promising start with a two-run first inning thanks to a clutch two-RBI base hit by Julian Rivera. During the at-bat, Rivera fought off at least 10 pitches before smashing a base hit to centerfield.
The Grizzlies led 2-1 after one inning and trailed just 5-3 after three innings. Sunnyside pitcher Kevin Lee kept the Panthers in check with just two earned runs during the first three innings.
But Riverview batted around in the fourth inning to the tune of five runs to take a seemingly insurmountable 10-3 lead.
Sunnyside Coach Terry Shines said a combination of walks and fielding errors helped give Riverview a boost during the big rally.
The Grizzlies committed two of their three errors in the pivotal fourth inning. Sunnyside pitchers in the inning surrendered three walks and a base runner when a Riverview batter was hit by a pitch.
The Grizzlies were down, but not out, as they answered with a four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman Mason Kupp had his only hit of the game for Sunnyside in the fifth inning, delivering a crucial, two-run base hit off of Riverview pitcher Terry Tracy.
Andre Sarmiento and Rivera had Sunnyside's other RBIs in the fifth.
The Grizzlies couldn't muster much offense the rest of the way, though, as over the final two innings Sunnyside was outscored 4-1.
Rivera paced Sunnyside for the game with four runs batted in, while Kupp batted two runs across. Angel Aguilar and Joel Ortega scored three and two runs, respectively.
Lee was on the mound for Sunnyside through the first three and two-thirds innings. Jerry Carrillo and Rivera finished the game in relief for the Grizzlies.
Riverview, which recorded 10 hits for the game, benefitted from six walks issued by Grizzly pitching.
Shines says pitching control is something his team will focus on in practice, even though the Grizzly hurlers set down seven batters on strikes.
Another positive is that Grizzly batters were able to produce runs after a scoreless jamboree this past Saturday.
"We did a lot of things right," Shines said. "We're just young and inexperienced, but we're getting it."
Shines says work needs to be done on getting more hitting from throughout the Grizzly line-up. "All of our seven hits came from the first four batters in the line-up," he said. "We're not real mechanically sound at the plate."
The coach added that now is the time for his team to gear up in all phases of the game because the opponents will only get tougher.
"We just have to step it up a notch when we start playing bigger teams," Shines says.
Sunnyside will take on one of those bigger teams this Friday when it plays at Chiawana.