KITTITAS - It's wasn't particularly pretty, not a textbook outing so to speak, nonetheless the Sunnyside Christian girls fastpitch softball team grabbed a win yesterday afternoon on the Kittitas High School diamond.
The non-league victory against the 2B Coyotes, Sunnyside Christian's second such decision this season against Kittitas, improved the Lady Knights' overall record on the year to 16-3.
The host Coyotes actually outhit visiting Sunnyside Christian by a 7 to 4 margin Thursday afternoon, but thanks to nine free passes issued by the Kittitas hurler, Hays, the Lady Knights walked off with a 5-2 win.
Five of the nine base-on-balls came in the opening inning, when Sunnyside Christian pushed four runs across the plate.
The first frame rally started innocently enough, as Hays induced Sunnyside Christian's lead-off hitter to make an out. Grace den Hoed got things started, though, by working her way aboard with a walk. After a Devi Knotts' single-base rap, Makayla Morrow got the only other hit of the inning, lashing a double to drive in den Hoed and push Knotts to third. Hays then loaded the bases by walking Danika DeGroot. Her older sister, Janelle DeGroot, followed by putting a pitch into play, but it was mishandled by the Coyotes and allowed the second run to cross the plate. Emily Bangs was then credited with an RBI by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
The younger of the DeGroot sisters, Danika, got caught napping when the next hitter, Gabby Filicetti, was at bat. DeGroot wandered too far off third and was picked off by the Kittitas catcher for the second out of the inning.
"That didn't make the coach too happy," quipped Sandy Harris, the long-time manager of the Lady Knights.
Filicetti would end up drawing the fourth walk of the inning, however, to reload the bases, which set up yet another run-scoring free pass drawn by Jenna den Hoed.
That 4-0 score held up until the bottom of the third, when Kittitas tallied a lone run.
Both clubs scored single runs in the sixth frame to account for the final 5-2 tally.
Harris said her pitcher, the sophomore Morrow, performed well in keeping the Coyotes from crossing the plate.
"We committed four errors in the game, which allowed some runners on base that shouldn't have been there," said Harris. "Makayla (Morrow) got us out of several jams, thanks in part to the six strikeouts she had yesterday."
Harris said Morrow especially came through in the seventh inning with the Coyotes threatening. The Lady Knight hurler got one of the final outs via a strikeout, induced a weak infield pop-up from the Coyotes' No. 3 hitter and then got the clean-up hitter to swat a harmless fly to center.
Because of the four fielding miscues on the part of the Lady Knights yesterday, Harris said today's practice will focus on players not being out of position when they're in the field.
"We have to clean up our defensive play," she said, "Especially with Zillah coming in to our field on Monday to close out the regular season."
The Lady Knights will open the 1B Regional playoffs at home next Wednesday, May 18, against Klickitat.