By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – Believe it or not, softball season has turned the corner and is headed for home as district play started earlier this week.
The Grapeland Sandiettes started league play with a 7-0 win over the Centerville Lady Tigers and if the first game is any indication, the Sandiettes may well have the pieces in place to make a deep playoff run.
Starting off in the pitcher’s circle, Cadie Belle Currie went the distance as she threw seven shutout innings of two-hit ball. Currie struck out eight and only yielded two hits and two walks.
In the field, the Sandiettes did not commit any errors.
At the plate, Grapeland pounded out 15 hits with five players having multi-hit games.
One of the two hits given up by Currie came in the first inning as Centerville’s lead-off batter, McKinzie Hamilton reached first base on a bunt single. Hamilton moved to second after Reileigh Matthews hit into a fielder’s choice. After Currie struck out Cristina Ortega for the inning’s second out, she coaxed Charmayne Hubbell to hit a soft liner to first baseman Madison Holbrook to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, the Sandiettes pounced on Hubbell – pitching for the Lady Tigers – for two runs. Taylar Mullen led off with a bunt single and stole second. She moved to third on a passed ball and came around to score when Diamond Maines-Dunn beat out a slow roller to short.
With the score 1-0, Dunn stole second and moved to third on a fielder’s choice. She also scored to stake the Sandiettes to an early 2-0 on a Currie ground out.
Currie recorded the first out of the second on 6-3 groundout. After giving up a walk to Kameron Hardee, Currie struck out the next two batters she faced to end the inning.
The Sandiettes struck for two more runs in the bottom half of the second. Holbrook reached on a hard hit grounder to short and advanced to second on a bunt from Madi McCombs. Holbrook and McCombs advanced to second and third when Haylee Reed dropped down a bunt to load the bases.
KeKe Harris also bunted her way on, pushed Holbrook across the plate to make the score 3-0 and kept the bases loaded. Mullen was up next and while she grounded into a 4-3 force, McCombs was able to scamper home to tack on another run to the Grapeland lead.
After neither team made any noise in the third or fourth innings, the Sandiettes added another two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Currie led off with a double and Reagan Bishop came in as a courtesy runner. She moved to third on a bunt from Chipman and came around to score on a Centerville fielding error.
Chipman advanced to second on the play and came around to score on a second error on the same play to make the score 6-0.
That was all the scoring until the bottom of the sixth when Currie tripled to center. Bishop came into run for Currie once again and scored on a Chipman groundout to make the score 7-0.
Centerville had one last chance in the top of the seventh but Currie was having none of it as she worked a 1-2-3 inning and struck out the last batter she faced to nail down the win for the Sandiettes by a final score of 7-0.
Grapeland is back in action on Monday, March 13 at 4:00 p.m. as they take on the Neches Lady Tigers in Neches.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.