Grapeland Defeats Lovelady, 10-1
By Will Johnson
LOVELADY – The Grapeland Sandiettes clinched the District 21-AA title on Saturday, April 14 and yet still had two games remaining in league play.
The Sandiettes were looking to keep their district record unblemished as they headed into the first round of the playoffs and did just that with a 10-0 victory over Kennard on Tuesday. Grapeland followed up on Friday with a 10-1 win over Lovelady to finish up their 2018 District 21-AA campaign with a record of 12-0.
Amber Mikes was in the pitching circle for the Lady Lions to start the game and she danced her way into and out of trouble in the first inning. Mikes struck out Cierra Simon to lead off the inning and then gave up a bunt single to Kiera DeCluette.
A fielder’s choice from Cheney Boyd forced DeCluette at second but Boyd moved up a bag when Hannah Chipman reached on an error. Cadie Belle Currie was up next for Grapeland and flew out to center field to snuff the Grapeland threat.
Currie, who was in the circle for the Sandiettes, was equally as effective as Mikes was in the first, if not more so. She struck out Jacy Stubblefield, coaxed a comebacker to the circle from Heather Elliott and then got Mikes to chase strike three to end the inning.
After a quiet second inning, the Sandiettes pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the third. DeCluette led off the inning with a walk and then stole second. Mikes struck out Boyd but gave up a double to Chipman which drove in DeCluette with the game’s first run.
Chipman then stole third and with Madi McCombs at the plate, Chipman stole home to make the score 2-0, in favor of Grapeland. After Chipman scored, Mikes struck out McCombs to retire the side.
The Lady Lions had a chance to cut into the lead in the bottom of the third, but the Grapeland defense was having none of it. Currie walked Erin Sample to start the bottom of the inning, but Sample was erased from the base paths when Hannah York hit into a double play.
Brittany Huester was up next and laced a single through the middle of the infield. Huester was stranded at first, however, when Stubblefield hit into a 6-3 force to end the inning.
Grapeland added a pair of runs to their lead in the top of the fourth inning. KeKe Harris struck out to lead off the fourth, but was followed by a Haylee Reed walk. Reed stole second and advanced to third on a Teira Jones bunt while Jones moved up a base on a wild pitch.
Simon was up next and hit into a fielder’s choice. She reached on the throw, however, as Reed slid safely home. On the play, Jones moved to third and when DeCluette grounded out to first, Jones crossed the plate to give the Sandiettes a 4-0 lead.
The Lions cut the lead to three when they came to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Currie struck out both Sample and Skye Watts, York connected off of Currie for a triple. Huester was up next and she singled down the first base line to score York and make the score 4-1.
Currie struck out Stubblefield to end the inning and then turned the game over to the Grapeland batting order who put the game away with a six run sixth inning.
Cayden LeBlanc led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Reed came in as a pinch runner and moved to second when Jones laid down a well-executed bunt.
After Simon hit into a force of Reed at third, DeCluette drove in Jones and advanced Simon to third with a single to right. Boyd followed with a single to center which plated Simon and moved DeCluette to third.
Following a Chipman fly out, Currie ripped a single into left field to drive in DeCluette and Boyd. Christy Shepherd came in to run for Currie, promptly stole second and scored on McCombs’ base knock. McCombs scored on an infield error and just like that, the Sandiettes led 10-1.
Mikes managed to get out of the inning with no further damage but Currie kept the Lady Lions in check during the bottom of the sixth.
Neither team could muster any offense in the top of the seventh and when Currie forced a groundout to end the game, the Sandiettes district record moved to a perfect 12-0.
Currie picked up the win with seven innings of work. She gave up one run on five hits, recorded 10 Ks and walked one.
Mikes was saddled with the loss. She pitched seven innings and gave up 10 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits. She also struck out six and walked four.
At the plate, the Sandiettes were led by Kiera DeCluette and Teira Jones.
DeCluette was 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored while Jones was 3-4 as well, with two runs scored.
The Lady Lions were led by Brittany Huester who was 2-3 at the plate with one RBI.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.