PASCO - "We played better than the score indicated," Coach Terry Shines said of his Sunnyside Grizzly baseball team's 10-0 loss this past Friday to Chiawana.
The host Riverhawks put the game away early with a five-run first inning, collecting five of their eight hits for the game in the opening frame.
After holding Chiawana to just a run in the second and third innings combined, Sunnyside struggled with pitching control in the fourth inning and issued four free passes. That, combined with a fielding error helped the Riverhawks to a four-run rally and a 10-0 lead.
In the fifth frame, Sunnyside broke up Chiawana pitcher Luke Burgess' no-hit bid when Jerry Carrillo delivered a pinch-hit double for Sunnyside.
The Grizzlies then threatened to end the shutout bid when Sam Romero followed with a single to put runners on first and third for the visiting team with two outs. Sunnyside's threat then fizzled with the third out of the inning.
Due to the 10-run mercy rule, the contest ended after five innings.
Kevin Lee (0-2) started the game for Sunnyside and pitched three and two-thirds innings. Julian Rivera pitched in relief for Sunnyside. The two hurlers combined to strike out four Chiawana batters.
Burgess set six Sunnyside batters down on strikes in five innings of work.
Despite the loss, Shines expressed optimism about the future as Sunnyside committed just one fielding error for the game. Chiawana committed two miscues.
"We played really good defense in spots," said Shines. He praised the play of infielders Andre Sarmiento and Franki Ochoa, who recorded an unassisted double play in the second inning.
The coach was also pleased to see his team didn't give up in the fifth inning, mounting a rally with pinch hitters. Shines could only wonder what might have happened, too, if two of his starting outfielders hadn't missed the game due to illness.
"We just have to swing the bat and keep everybody healthy," he said.
Sunnyside, 0-2, will look for its first win tomorrow, Tuesday, when it hosts Davis for a doubleheader.