By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

EVADALE – Before the Grapeland Sandiettes began their playoff run, a warm-up game was scheduled against the Evadale Lady Rebels on Monday, April 24.

The game was billed as a measuring stick to see where the Sandiettes stood in regard to a Top 10 team in Class 2A and it more than lived up to the expectations. Although the Sandiettes lost by a score of 2-1, the game showed Grapeland was very capable of competing with and winning against one of the best teams in the state as they prepared for the postseason.

The Sandiettes knew they were in for a tough test as they traveled the two and a half hours to the Lady Rebels home field. In the pitcher’s circle for Evadale was Savannah Wilson. Heading into the game, Wilson led Class 2A in strikeouts with 215, was fifth in ERA with a 1.61 and was third in wins with 19.

She quickly showed Grapeland the stats were no joke as she retired the Sandiettes in order to start the game.

Grapeland’s Cadie Belle Currie was in the circle for the Sandiettes and while Wilson’s stats are impressive, Currie’s are just as impressive if not more so given Wilson is a sophomore and Currie is a freshman.

Currie leads Class 2A with a 1.02 ERA, is second in wins with 20 and is fourth in strikeouts with 175. She also has two no-hitters on the season.

The freshman phenom retired the first two batters she faced, but gave up a double to Alexis Walker on a 1-2 pitch. The next batter she faced was Wilson who slapped a rocket towards third base that was mishandled for an error and allowed Walker to score from second for the game’s first run.

The run didn’t seem to faze Currie as she struck out Evadale’s Abi Thompson on four pitches to end the inning and move the game into the second.

The Sandiettes evened the score at one when they came to bat. Wilson forced a pop up from Currie but walked Madison Holbrook for Grapeland’s first base runner of the game.

She followed up the walk with a strike out of Madi McCombs for the inning’s second out. However, just when it looked like Wilson might get out of the second frame without any damage, Holbrook stole second and came around to score on Hannah Chipman’s single through the middle of the infield.

Chipman stole second and then swiped third but was stranded when KeKe Harris fanned to end the Sandiettes half of the inning with the score tied at one.

After Currie retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, Grapeland had a chance to take the lead. Reagan Bishop was hit by a pitch to lead-off the inning. Taylar Mullen fanned on four pitches and was followed by Diamond Maines-Dunn.

On a 1-1 pitch from Wilson, Bishop was able to get a good jump and slid into second for a stolen base. Maines-Dunn struck out which brought Hailee Sheridan to the plate. On a 2-0 count, Wilson uncorked a wild pitch and Bishop moved over to third.

Sheridan worked the count the Evadale pitcher to a full count but was caught swinging at strike three to end the Grapeland threat.

The two pitchers took over the game when they returned to the pitcher’s circle. Currie only needed 11 pitches to get out of the bottom of the third while Wilson only needed 12 to get out of the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Currie found herself in a jam. Walker drew a base on balls and moved along the base paths when she beat out a throw to second on a fielder’s choice.

With runners now at first and second and nobody out, Currie struck out Thompson. She coaxed a ground out from Kary Anthony but the two runners managed to move up on the play. Even in a hostile environment and with runners in scoring position, Currie kept her composure and calmly struck out Bailey Mock on four pitches to end the inning and keep the score tied at one.

After a quiet fifth inning, the Lady Rebels took the lead in the sixth. Wilson retired the Sandiettes in order during the top of the sixth and turned things over to her offense.

Jackie Minyard led off with an infield single. The next batter was Walker who slapped a shot that was mishandled for an error which allowed Minyard to score all the way from first and give the Lady Rebels a 2-1 lead.

On the play, Walker was able to move to third and Evadale had a runner in scoring position with no outs in the bottom of the sixth.

Currie slammed the door closed on any further runs, however, as she took matters into her own hands and struck out Wilson, Thompson and Anthony to end the Lady Rebel threat.

The Sandiettes had one last chance in the top of the seventh. Currie popped up to open the inning while Madison Holbrook bunted her way on and then stole second. It looked as if Grapeland had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with a runner in scoring position with one out, but Wilson had a different plan as she struck out McCombs and Chipman to close the game out and give Eva dale the 2-1 win.

Wilson was credited with the win after she pitched seven innings, gave up one earned run on two hits, struck out 17 and walked one.

Currie took the hard luck loss in six innings of work. She gave up two runs (no earned) on two hits to go along with nine Ks and one walk.

At the plate, Grapeland was led by Madison Holbrook who was 1-2 with a hit, a run scored and a walk. Hannah Chipman was 1-3 with one RBI.

Evadale was led by Alexis Walker who was 1-2 with a run scored and a walk while Jackie Minyard was 1-3.

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