YAKIMA — Sunnyside’s confidence on the softball field is growing – there’s a resounding buzz of excitement being generated from the opportunistic style of play with each game.
The young team is discovering its high-spirited character while improving upon their level of play in all aspects of the game, regardless of the situation or team they’re facing.
“With every game, they get better and gain more confidence. So, as their confidence grows, they take more chances and when you take a chance, there’s a better chance for success,” SHS Softball Head Coach Greg Stroh expressed after the ball club won the first of two games against Davis on Wednesday, April 28.
SHS senior designated hitter smacked a three-run shot in the top of the first to set the aggressive tone, which would carry through the second game of the double header at Kiwanis Park.
On the mound for the Lady Grizzlies was pitcher Jansyn Carrizales, who pitched a complete game in the victory. The sophomore shut out the Pirates through 3 and 2/3 innings before surrendering three runs.
Sunnyside added two runs in the second and one in the third as freshman shortstop Alondra Ruiz, came off the bench to run for Carrizales, and slid safely underneath the catcher’s tag and stole home after the passed ball as Sunnyside increased its lead to 6-0.
“Sometimes I can tell when I can make it. Other times it’s just kind of like a leap of faith: just run, get down,” Ruiz described on her instinctive play after she relinquished her scorekeeping duties.
“That was only the second time I’ve done that at home. The first time was our last game,” the courtesy runner explained. She said it’s fun to be ready to play and contribute when called upon. “It’s an honor. They trust me that much to put me out there!”
“That’s why (Ruiz) she’s up here. She’s a great shortstop for JV but she’s fantastic at running and I love having her out here,” coach stated.
Stroh recalled how she performed during a clutch situation and took off like a pro and stole home against Eisenhower last week. “It was fantastic!”
In their half of the fourth, led by SHS junior third base Maura Roberts with the bases loaded and no outs, on a three ball and no strike count, drove a rope to left centerfield that rolled to the fence for a standup triple.
The number five hitter said she realized the intensity of the situation and dug in and waited for the right pitch to drive.
“When there’s multiple girls on base, it feels like extra good,” Roberts acknowledged.
She would later get caught up in a rundown situation between the catcher and third base. The levelheaded baserunner was turned back to third and once the throw was made up the line, Roberts stopped on a dime and speedily ran toward home. Her heads-up play forced an overthrow and she easily scored to make it 11-0 in the fourth.
“We all work really, really hard in practice. We’re there six days a week. So, it makes us all proud of each other. We all try to uplift one another even if somebody doesn’t get a hit,” Roberts communicated.
Both teams punched across two runs in the fifth and the Lady Grizzlies led 13-5. Sunnyside batted around for eight runs in their half of the sixth and cruised to a 21-5 win.
“That’s the thing about softball, you’ve got to go up there and be super comfortable and confident and let yourself be successful,” coach explained.