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Knights give Naches JV tussle in twin bill finale

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Knights' third baseman Jackson Haak slaps a tag down on a Naches base runner Thursday afternoon.

The first game in Sunnyside Christian's home opener yesterday afternoon ended with the Knights dropping a 17-2 decision to the Naches JV, the same score they lost by to Liberty Christian's varsity two days prior.

Thursday's twin bill finale was a different story, however. Getting a gutsy, complete game pitching performance from Wyatt Hoff, as well as a pair of hits from both Brandon Moore and Alex Brouwer, Sunnyside Christian gave the Rangers all they could handle before finally falling by a single run, 6-5.

"After dropping our first two games of the season by identical 17-2 scores, I was starting to wonder," said SCHS Coach Tyler Alseth. "But we finally got a baseball game in that second one last night."

The JV Rangers took the early lead on Sunnyside Christian's varsity in the nightcap, plating three runs in the top of the third. The hitting standouts for Naches that game were Ryker Cryder and Trevor Leslie, who went 2-for-3 and 2-for-4 at the plate, respectively.

The three-run uprising for Naches in the third frame was due in part to Hoff issuing three walks that inning, the only base-on-balls he gave up in pitching all seven innings.

"Other than that third inning, Wyatt battled the Naches hitters the whole game," said Alseth. He said Hoff mainly stuck with his fastball, working his pitches in and out and hitting his spots well.

Interestingly, Hoff threw from the stretch the entire game, not having yet learned how to pitch from a wind-up.

"Pitching is fairly new to him," Alseth said. "He's been working on throwing a curve, but yesterday he pretty much stuck with his fastball."

It served him well, as Hoff allowed just the six runs in going the whole way while scattering seven hits and fanning three.

After falling behind 3-0, Sunnyside Christian pieced together a four-run rally in the bottom of the fourth to grab the lead temporarily. And, it was Hoff who got things started, as he singled his way aboard and then stole second. The sophomore Moore plated him by slapping a single, which was followed by another RBI single off the bat of Drew Puterbaugh.

After Puterbaugh stole second and moved up another bag on a ground ball to the right side of the infield, Brant Bosma laid down a squeeze bunt that brought in Puterbaugh. Bosma reached first safely on the play, thanks to his hustle down the baseline, and it paid dividends because the next batter, Brouwer, smacked a double, bringing Bosma all the way around the bases with the fourth run of the inning.

Naches, though, went on to plate single tallies in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, eventually holding on for the 6-5 victory over the Knights.

In Thursday's opener, the senior Matt Moore got chased off the mound after only recording one out in the top of the first. The Rangers ended up pushing six runs across the dish that inning. Bosma went the next three and two-third innings, with Hoff pitching the final frame for Sunnyside Christian. All told, the three Knight hurlers only gave up six hits, but were done in by giving up 12 free passes. The four errors committed behind them by their Sunnyside Christian teammates also contributed to the 17-2 loss.

The Knights scored their first run in the opening game in the bottom of the third, thanks to a single by Ricky Driesen and walks coaxed off Naches pitcher Sean Scholtys by Hoff and the senior Moore. Puterbaugh drove in Sunnyside Christian's second and final run of the contest in the bottom of the fifth with a single.

The Knights baseball team (0-3) is scheduled to play a doubleheader against the JV Mustangs in Prosser next Tuesday, March 27.

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