Peterson’s HR Highlights Grapeland’s 9 -3 Win

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies assured themselves of a spot in the playoffs with their 9-3 win over the Normangee Panthers on Monday, April 9.

The Sandies used an eight run second inning to capture the early lead – highlighted by Ethan Peterson’s 2-run jack – and then coast to the win.

Josh Ackley got the nod for Grapeland and opened the game with a swinging strikeout of Logan Andrews. Evan Pate was next in the batting order and drew a nine pitch walk. Ryan Pate followed in the order and sacrificed E. Pate to second, but the Grapeland ace got Bubba Mayes to chase strike three to end the Panthers’ half of the first.

Mayes was on the bump for Normangee and was equally as effective as Ackley in the first inning. He got Austin Driskell to line out to short and forced a fly ball out from Dylan Duhon. Following an infield single from Ackley, Case Boyd hit into a 5-3 force to end the inning.

When Ackley returned to the hill in the top of the second, he was lights out. He got Chayse Smith to swing at strike three and then caught Luke Yellot watching as the umpire rang him up. Just for posterity’s sake, Ackley struck out Brady Harris to retire the side in order.

The flood gates opened up for the Sandies when they came to bat in the bottom half of the second inning. Ethan Peterson led off with a single to center and Blake Howard followed with a walk. After Cameron Sheridan and Camarron Mixon both struck out, it looked like Mayes might get out of the inning unscathed.

Mayes, unfortunately, turned out to be his own worst enemy. With BJ Lamb at the plate, Mayes threw back-to-back wild pitches that allowed Peterson to score and moved Howard to third. Lamb followed with a walk and then Austin Driskell beat out a throw to first for an infield single that brought Howard home and made the score 2-0.

On the play, Lamb took second. Both he and Driskell moved up a spot when Mayes walked Duhon to load the bases. Ackley was up next and laced a pitch into centerfield that plated Lamb as well as Driskell and moved Duhon to third.

Boyd followed with another single to center that scored both Duhon and Ackley who was running on the pitch.

That was all she wrote for Mayes who was relieved by Cobey Powell. Peterson came to the plate and after Boyd had advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, Peterson made history.

On a 3-2 count, Peterson turned on a Powell pitch and launched a mammoth shot that cleared the left field fence for a 2-run HR. Peterson’s jack was the first ever homerun hit at the recently opened Sandie Field and made the score 8-0. Powell finally managed to get out of the inning after he walked Howard and then got Sheridan to swing at strike three.

Ackley worked a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third and then drove in Lamb with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning to make the score 9-0.

The Panthers finally broke into the scoring column in the top of the fourth. E. Pate singled to lead off the inning. He stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and crossed the plate when R. Pate grounded into a 4-3 force.

Normangee added two late runs but could not overcome the early deficit and fell a score of 9-3.

Ackley picked up the win with 5.2 innings of work. He gave up two runs on four hits, recorded nine Ks and walked three. Peterson relieved him in the bottom of the sixth and gave up one run on two hits, struck out one and walked one.

Mayes took the loss in 1.2 innings. He gave up seven runs on five hits, struck out two and walked three. Powell pitched 0.2 innings of relief and gave up two runs on Peterson’s homer. He also struck out two and walked three. Jacob Schmidt pitched the final 3.2 innings for Normangee and gave up one hit. He struck out three and walked one.

At the plate, Ackley went 2-3 with three RBI and one run scored while Peterson was 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Normangee was led by E. Pate who was 3-3 with two runs scored and one walk.

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