KENNEWICK - A botched double-play ball helped send the Sunnyside Grizzly baseball team to a 12-1 defeat yesterday at host Kamiakin in a loser-out playoff game.
Monday's win-or-go-home contest saw the Braves jump out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
In the second frame, though, it looked like Sunnyside pitcher Sam Romero would hold Kamiakin scoreless and give the Grizzlies a chance to rally.
With a runner on base and one out, a Kamiakin batter slapped a perfect ground ball that should have helped Sunnyside turn two and get out of the second inning. Instead of a twin-killing, a misplay on the ball opened the gates for the Braves to plate five runs in the second stanza and put the game away.
To be sure, one fielding error didn't decide the contest - in which Kamiakin outhit Sunnyside 10-to-3 - but the second life did help the Braves seal the win.
Sunnyside's lone run came in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI base hit by Miguel Mendez. The contest ended after that due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Mendez also provided a stint on the mound in relief of Romero.
The loss ends Sunnyside's season with a record of 2-19.
"We were really young this season, we're only graduating three seniors," Coach Terry Shines said in reflecting on Sunnyside's 2013 campaign.
There may be only three seniors - Romero, Mendez and Trey Serl - but they will be tough to replace as all three pitched for the Grizzlies this season.
"We're going to have to be crafty with our pitching next year," says Shines. "That will be the big test."
Sunnyside's not waiting until next spring to work on its game, though, as SHS players will participate in summer ball in just a few weeks. "Basically, we'll work on our hitting over the summer and be more sure of ourselves on defense," Shines said.