By Will Johnson
NECHES – The Grapeland Sandiettes hit the road on Monday, March 12 as they travelled to Neches to take on the Lady Tigers in a District 21-AA matchup.
The game featured a duel between two of the best pitchers in East Texas as Grapeland’s Cadie Currie squared off against Neches’ Josie Sumpter. In the end, it was Currie who got the win as she bested Sumpter by a score of 5-2.
The contest saw the Sandiettes take an early 2-0 lead in part because of Sumpter’s wildness. Cierra Simon led off with a single and then a steal of second. She moved up a base when Kierra DeCluette motored down to first after Sumpter uncorked a wild pitch for strike three her catcher was unable to corral.
DeCluette stole second to give the Sandiettes runners on first and second with one out. A second wild pitch from Sumpter allowed Simon to scamper home with the first run of the game as DeCluette moved to third.
Cheney Boyd brought in DeCluette with a hard shot to first to make the score 2-0 before Sumpter settled down to strike out Hannah Chipman for the final out of the inning.
The Lady Tigers cut the Grapeland lead in half in their half of the first thanks to three errors and a walk. Hannah Lovelady scored on an error but despite the Sandiettes fumbling the ball on a consistent basis in the bottom of the inning, that was the only run Neches was able to scratch out.
Currie found herself in an early jam but managed to catch both MacKenzie Hudson and Lexi Rogers looking at called third strikes to wriggle off the hook.
After a quiet second inning, the Sandiettes picked up another run when Simon crossed the plate on a passed ball in the third.
The Lady Tigers threatened in their half of the inning but Sumpter was picked off at third to end threat and send the game to the fourth inning with Grapeland ahead 3-1.
While both teams had their chances in the fourth, neither was able to push a run across the dish.
The Sandiettes changed that in the top of the fifth, however, when they scored a pair of runs to extend their lead to 5-1.
DeCluette led off with a single up the middle and promptly stole second. Currie was up next and grounded into a 6-3 force. DeCluette advanced to third on the play and came home when Boyd grounded out to short.
Hannah Chipman was up next and roped a double into left. She then stole second and when Maddie McCombs reached first on a dropped third strike, Chipman slid home to put the Sandiettes up by four.
The game remained that way until the bottom of the seventh when Neches tacked on a run to make the final score 5-2.
Currie picked up the win with seven innings of work. She gave up two runs (both unearned) on three hits. She struck out six and walked two.
Sumpter was the hard luck loser for the Lady Tigers. She went the distance and gave up five runs (three unearned) on seven hits. She also recorded 11 Ks and walked three.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.