SUNNYSIDE — The Sunnyside Christian Knights hosted Walla Walla Valley Academy Knights Friday and suffered a 6-1 loss in the opener, a 7-6 loss after an extra two innings in the nightcap.
The set of losses drops the home team to 10-4 on the season but doesn’t discourage Coach Tyler Alseth and the players.
It only emphasizes their need to work a little harder in batting practice, the coach said.
“Pitching has been great,” Alseth said, as the team eyes the postseason, which is a little more than a week away.
In the first game, Sunnyside Christian scored its first and only run in the first inning.
There was just one out in the final frame when Walla Walla went on a scoring run against Nate Moore and the defense.
“Some errors cost us,” Alseth said of the six runs that clinched a win for the visitors.
“I was a little nervous in the first (inning), and I was feeling sorta confident going into the seventh,” Moore said.
His primary focus of that game was keeping the walks to a minimum.
“I didn’t like my batting today,” Moore said, emphasizing what the coach said about more practice offensively.
The second game was much tighter. “It was hard fought,” Alseth said.
“It just didn’t turn our way.”
Walla Walla had a 4-3 lead going into the bottom of fifth inning when the host team scored two runs to take a 5-4 lead.
Kyler Marsh and Tyler Groeneweg, who was 2-for-5 batting, scored the two runs.
In the next inning, Sunnyside Christian’s Bodie Jansen hit a single RBI, giving Eric Villalobos the run and giving the host a 6-4 lead.
Going into the seventh, the game looked promising, but Walla Walla was able to load the bases with two outs.
That’s when Eli Stanciu hit a single for 2 RBI, sending Kyler Barnett and the team’s No. 21 (name not available) across home plate.
The game was tied at 6-6, sending the teams into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Moore took over pitching duties after three other pitching changes.
Ross Faber caught the ball deep in left field after it was hit by the first batter, knocking down an out.
The second batter struck out, and Barnett was able to take first base on an error.
As the third player was at the plate, Barnett advanced two bases on steals, adding pressure to the Sunnyside Christian defense.
The subsequent batter was issued a walk, and Jack Harris hit a single down the center, giving Sunnyside Christian the chance to tag the runner at second.
Jansen, who was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, was the only player to get a hit in the bottom of the frame. He advanced to third on a couple steals, placing himself in position for a run when Marsh was at bat.
It was for naught as Marsh connected, sending the ball high in the infield. The Walla Walla pitcher was at the ready when it came down and landed in his glove to extend the game into a ninth inning.
Ryan Regalado hit a single RBI and gave the visitors the seventh run of the game by sending Nathan Treadway across home plate.
Sunnyside Christian wasn’t able to answer the run with one of their own in the bottom half.
“I feel like going into next week, this was a wake-up call,” Moore said. “We need to get better on batting and hitting the ball.”
Sunnyside Christian faces two opponents this week. They were scheduled to play Kittitas in a single game Monday and a doubleheader Tuesday against Riverside Christian.
Next Monday, they will wrap the regular season with a double header against Pateros.