Senior Alex Brouwer, prior to the start of the spring season, had been penciled in as the starting left fielder for the Sunnyside Christian High School baseball team.
But with half of his club's victories in his pocket, Brouwer may soon be taking the mound on a regular basis.
Brouwer (2-0) tossed a complete game six-hitter yesterday afternoon, spearheading the Knights' 8-2 victory over the visiting Zillah JV. The win allowed the host Knights to walk off their home field with a doubleheader split, as the Leopards prevailed in the opener, 10-4.
The plan this season was for Brouwer only to fill in on the hill when the Knights ran out of pitchers to trot in out of the pen. But with Brouwer going the distance a week ago against the Connell JV, SCHS Coach Tyler Alseth opted to give the right-handed hurler a second start yesterday.
He came through in a big way. Brouwer, in pitching all five innings of the nightcap, scattered six hits while fanning two and walking two.
"The thing about Alex," said Alseth, "is that he throws a lot of strikes. He doesn't go to a lot of 3-1 counts. That keeps the defense always on their toes, knowing most of the time he's going to put the ball over the plate.
"He's not over-powering, which means the other team is putting the ball into play a lot. Right now, at least in the two games he's thrown, the batters are hitting the ball right at our fielders," Alseth said.
In looking ahead to the remainder of the season, Alseth admitted he's considering putting Brouwer into the pitching rotation.
"He's getting the job done," Alseth said.
Brouwer got all the support he needed from his teammates in game two in their very first at-bat. Brouwer, himself, started off the bottom of the first frame rally by slapping a single, then stole second. Brant Bosma, who finished 2-for-2 at the plate in the nightcap, drove Brouwer home with a ringing double. After Drew Puterbaugh reached on Zillah's only error of the game, Wyatt Hoff crunched a two-run double to make it a 3-0 game. Brandon Broersma followed with a run-scoring single, and promptly stole second. Josh Stein then hit a grounder behind Broersma, who was able to scamper home with Sunnyside Christian's fifth run of the inning.
The Knights added a three-run outburst in the bottom of the second to forge an 8-0 lead. Zillah plated single tallies in the top of the third and fifth innings to account for the final 8-2 score.
Because of a shortage of pitchers on Zillah's part yesterday, the coaches for the two teams both agreed beforehand to play just a pair of five-inning games.
The Leopards won handily in game one, by a 10-4 score, due chiefly to the seven errors Sunnyside Christian committed.
"We weren't mentally prepared. We didn't come out ready to play," said Alseth.
Four of those seven miscues came in the first inning, which Zillah converted into six runs. The Leopards went on to plate a single run in each of the next four innings.
The one big rally the Knights had in the opener occurred in the bottom of the second. They plated two scores on singles by Puterbaugh, Stein and Broersma.
Sunnyside Christian (4-6) had been scheduled to play the Prosser JV this coming Friday, but that game has since been moved up to this Thursday, April 18, on the Mustangs' home field. Game time is slated for 4 p.m.