The Sunnyside Christian High School summer baseball team got off to a less than auspicious start in Three Rivers Senior Babe Ruth League play last Thursday.
Opening a 16-game league schedule, the first time the private school from Sunnyside has ever fielded a summer ball club, Benton City swept into town and made off with a pair of 7-1 and 7-0 victories.
Penciled in as Benton City’s ace for the 2014 spring school season, Mike Deeten kept the Knights handcuffed at the plate.
Deeten took the mound for the first four innings in Thursday’s opener, departing in the fifth with his club up 4-1. Justin Rossine pitched three innings of scoreless relief while his Benton City teammates added three additional runs in the closing frames.
All told, Deeten and Rossine limited Sunnyside Christian to just four hits in the first game of the twin bill.
The host team scored its one and only run in the bottom of the fourth, after Brant Bosma singled his way aboard and then raced home on a single-base knock by Drew Puterbaugh.
Bosma finished the opener with two hits for the Knights. The one other hit Sunnyside Christian mustered was a second-inning single off the bat of Billy Van Wingerden.
The defensive gem in the first game came in the top of the seventh. Benton City had runners on first and second with no outs. The third batter hit a shot to second, but Van Wingerden made a diving catch on it. He sprung to his feet and doubled off the runner at first. Van Wingerden then got back to the second base bag and took a throw from the first baseman before the runner at second could get back to the pillow to tag up, completing a triple play.
Absorbing the first-game loss was Brandon Moore, who pitched four innings before making way for Wyatt Hoff.
Game two stayed relatively close through the first three innings, as Benton City squeaked out just single scores in the top of the first and third frames off Sunnyside Christian’s starting hurler, Bosma.
In the top of the fourth, however, Bosma couldn’t find the strike zone and ended up issuing the majority of the 11 walks he gave up in his three-plus innings of work. That led to a five-run uprising by Benton City, which eventually prevailed by a 7-0 score.
Deeten, the Benton City ace, pitched all of game two, which was called after five innings due to impending darkness. He ended up tossing a one-hitter, that coming off the bat of Puterbaugh, who singled in the bottom of the first.
Sunnyside Christian gets an opportunity for payback this Tuesday, June 4, as the Knights will take on Benton City again, although this twin bill will not be on the Knights’ home diamond.