By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – For the second game in a row, the Grapeland Sandiettes found themselves behind after the first inning of play. And for the second time in as many games, the Sandiettes used a big inning in the latter stages of a matchup on the softball diamond to come from behind to secure a win.

On Tuesday of last week, Grapeland rallied to score five runs in the fourth and added the game winner in the sixth to take care of business against the Slocum Lady Mustangs. On Friday, April 7, the Sandiettes fell behind 2-1 in the first inning to Neches Lady Tigers but used a four-run fifth inning to pull ahead and eventually win by a final score of 6-2.

Cadie Belle Currie was in the pitcher’s circle for the Sandiettes and she started off like gang busters as she fanned the first batter she faced on four pitches. Sheridan Andrews followed Hannah Lovelady in the order and promptly informed Currie it wasn’t going to be a cake walk against the Lady Tigers with a line drive into left field.

Neches’ pitcher – Josey Sumpter – was up next and also slapped a Currie pitch into left to put runners at first and second, with only one out.

Jayci Mannix followed Sumpter to the batter’s box and ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left center field gap to plate Andrews and Sumpter.

Mannix took third on the play but was stranded there after Currie struck out Hana Walsh and then popped up Mackenzie Hudson for the third out of the inning.

With the score 2-0, the Sandiettes managed to cut the lead in half during their at-bat. After Taylar Mullen struck out to lead off the bottom half of the first, Hailee Sheridan drew a walk off of Sumpter and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Currie’s single to center.

Sumpter seemed to settle down and got out of the inning without any further damage and managed to keep the Lady Tigers ahead by a score of 2-1.

The second, third and fourth innings saw only three baserunners as both Currie and Sumpter were sharp after the first inning. Mullen and Madison Holbrook walked for the Sandiettes and were stranded on the base paths for Grapeland, while Mannix drew a base-on-balls but couldn’t get to second.

The fifth inning, however, was a different story for the Sandiettes. After Currie worked a 1-2-3 top of the fifth, she turned it over to her offense and they delivered.

Mullen led off with a double, took third on an error and scored on a second miscue on the play to tie the game at two.

Sheridan followed Mullen with a single to center field and moved to second on a wild pitch. After she stole third, Currie walked to put runners at the corners with no outs.

A wild pitch brought Sheridan home to make the score 3-2, in favor of Grapeland, and moved Currie to second. A passed ball moved her to third and after Hannah Chipman popped out, Madison Holbrook brought Currie home with a single to right.

Holbrook stole second, moved to third on Madi McCombs infield single and crossed the dish when KeKe Harris reached first on an error to push the Grapeland lead to three.

Sumpter retired the next two batters she faced, but the damage was done as the Sandiettes led by a score of 5-2.

When Currie went back to the pitcher’s circle to start the sixth, she was lights out. She need only nine pitches to retire the side in order as she sandwiched her 10th K between a ground out and a pop out to end the Neches sixth.

The Sandiettes tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the inning when Mullen tagged up and scored on a fly ball to center from Chipman.

Currie did the rest as she retired the Lady Tigers in order to close out the game and give Grapeland the 6-2 victory.

Currie picked up the win after going the distance, giving up three hits, allowing two runs, striking out 10 and walking one.

Sumpter recorded the loss after she pitched six innings, gave up five hits, allowed six runs, struck out eight and walked six.

At the plate, the Sandiettes were led by a trio of seniors. Taylar Mullen was 1-2 with two walks and a run scored. Hailee Sheridan was 1-3 with a walk and two runs scored while Madison Holbrook was 1-2 with a walk and a RBI.

The Lady Tigers were led by Jayci Mannix who was 1-2 with two RBI and a walk.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.