Based on the contributions Brandon Moore made yesterday, the Sunnyside Christian High School varsity baseball team may be looking to the junior for even greater performances in the days ahead.
The right-handed hurler picked up both wins Thursday afternoon against the visiting Prosser JV. The first 'W' for Moore came in a relief role, the second was the result of a complete game pitching performance.
Moore also stepped up big at the plate, going a combined 4-for-6 in the two games to help the Knights stave off the Mustangs by scores of 8-7 and 7-1.
The two victories were Sunnyside Christian's first wins of the season, after opening spring play with four consecutive losses.
The SCHS 'nine' completed the twin bill sweep of Prosser due chiefly to the two-hit pitching performance of Moore. The one run the Mustangs scored, in the top of the third, was unearned. Moore (2-1), in going the distance in the nightcap, fanned seven hitters while walking only three.
SCHS Coach Tyler Alseth admits Moore isn't overpowering from atop the hill, "...but he challenges the batters to hit the ball. He gets ahead of them in the count, and he does a pretty good job of moving the ball around."
As well as Moore pitched in game two, he got plenty of help from his teammates. One of the shining moments came in the top of the final inning, when Sunnyside Christian's infield turned a 6-4-3 double play...shortstop Wyatt Hoff fielding a grounder and throwing a runner out at second, with Billy Van Wingerden wheeling and throwing to first baseman Brandon Broersma to clear the bags of runners. Moore then recorded his final strikeout of the contest to bring an end to the game.
Offensively, the Knights gave Moore what proved to be all the support he needed in the bottom of the first. Alex Brouwer opened the frame with a single, went to second on an overthrow and stole third. After a walk to Moore, Drew Puterbaugh laced a run-scoring single. Both Moore and Puterbaugh scampered home on a ringing double off the bat of Hoff to give the Knights a 3-0 lead.
Brouwer, Moore, Hoff and Van Wingerden each banged out two hits in the second game. All told, the Knights tallied nine hits in the nightcap.
The game one hitting stars for the 8-7 winners included Puterbaugh, 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI; Moore and Van Wingerden, each of whom went 2-for-4; and Brant Bosma, with two doubles in two official plate appearances.
Sunnyside Christian took the lead for good in game one against Prosser in the bottom of the sixth by pushing across three runs. Brouwer started the rally with a single, which was followed by RBI doubles by both Bosma and Puterbaugh. A ground ball pushed to the right side of the infield, off the bat of C.J. Dalrymple, ended up plating Puterbaugh.
The key defensive play for the Knights in the opener occurred in the top of the fourth. With the game knotted at 3-3, the Mustangs loaded the bases with no outs. A Texas League blooper then dropped in front of the left fielder, Brouwer. He raced in and scooped up the ball, though, and fired a strike to the catcher Puterbaugh for the force. Puterbaugh turned it into a double play when he snapped off a throw to the third baseman, getting the ball to the bag before the runner from second arrived. The Knights went on to get the third out, keeping Prosser from scoring in the inning.
Hoff opened on the hill for Sunnyside Christian in the first game, twirling four and two-thirds innings of five-hit ball. But, he gave up five base-on-balls along the way. Moore replaced him on the mound in the fifth, after Prosser got two runners in. With two aboard and two outs, Moore eventually got out of the jam to keep the game tied at 5-5.
"It was a couple of good wins for us," said Alseth. "Defensively, we had some nice diving plays, and we were aggressive when we needed to be.
"The kids played with some good intensity."
The Knights will be out of action for several weeks during spring break. Their next scheduled games are against the Connell JV, at home on Tuesday, April 9.