Grapeland Falls to West Sabine, 3-2

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

NACOGDOCHES – The Grapeland Sandiettes traveled to Nacogdoches on Thursday, May 10 for a game against the West Sabine Lady Tigers in the Regional Quarterfinal round of the 2017-2018 Class AA UIL softball playoffs.

The Sandiettes had an easy run up to this point in the postseason as they had defeated Alto by a score of 15-0 in Bi-District, followed by a convincing 2-0 series victory over Big Sandy with scores of 14-0 and 23-0.

West Sabine, meanwhile, swept Groveton by scores of 9-2 and 9-2 and then won a series in the area round against Joaquin by a 2-1 margin.

The Sandiettes were on fire at the plate as they entered the series and had played rock solid defense. Unfortunately for Grapeland – in game one – the hitting cooled and the defense cracked as the Sandiettes fell by a score of 3-2.

Cadie Belle Currie was in the pitcher’s circle to start the game for the Sandiettes and made quick work of the Lady Tigers. She forced Kaleigh Anderson to pop weakly back to the circle for the first out, got Harlee Franklin to ground out to first and then caught Haley Primrose swinging at strike three to end the Lady Tigers’ half of the inning.

It appeared the Sandiettes would keep their hot streak at the plate intact as they scored two runs in the bottom of the first.

Cierra Simon led off for the Sandiettes with a triple and scored when Kiera DeCluette followed with a double. It looked as if DeCluette might get stranded at second after Cheney Boyd popped up and Hannah Chipman struck out.

Currie was up next and she lofted a ball just over the West Sabine shortstop and into shallow left field. DeCluette was moving on the play and raced home to make the score 2-0.

Christy Shepherd came into run for Currie but she was stranded at first when Madi McCombs struck out.

The second inning saw the Lady Tigers cut the Grapeland lead in half. Anna Metcalf popped up to first to lead off. She was followed by Hannah Spring who struck out on three pitches.

Susan Muncrief was up next and drew a walk. She moved to second when Halli Hall hit a shot to short that was booted for an error. A second error allowed Muncrief to cross the plate and made the score 2-1.

Currie struck out the next batter she faced – Kelsey Woods- to get out of the inning without any further damage.

That was all the offense until the top of the sixth inning when West Sabine tied things up, 2-2. Primrose led off the inning with a single and then stole second. Metcalf laid down a bunt to move Primrose to third as she beat the throw to first.

Spring followed in the batting order with a sacrifice that allowed Primrose to score and advanced Metcalf to third base.

The next batter was Muncrief and when she attempted to lay down a bunt, DeCluette fielded the ball cleanly and threw to Simon who applied the tag to Metcalf for the second out. Currie then struck out Hall to retire the side.

The Sandiettes had a chance to recapture the lead in the bottom of the inning. Chipman struck out to open the frame and then Currie walked. Shepherd came into run for her but was called out at second when Madi McCombs hit into a fielder’s choice.

KeKe Harris followed McCombs in the batters’ box and bunted her way to first. On the play, the West Sabine third baseman fielded the ball but threw it away, allowing McCombs to move to third while Harris slid safely into second.

Haylee Reed was up next and worked the count to 3-2 but on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Reed struck out, stranding McCombs and Harris on the base paths.

The seventh inning started off with a Riley Lane groundout to first. Kelsey Woods followed with a single to right and took second on an error in the outfield. Woods advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Anderson laced a single into left.

Currie kept her composure, however, and struck out the next two batters she faced to end the West Sabine half of the inning.

Down 3-2, the Sandiettes had one last chance to win the game outright or send it into extra innings. It was not meant to be, however, as Grapeland went quietly in their final at-bat. Teira Jones struck out, Simon was thrown out at first and DeCluette grounded into a 1-3 force to end the game.

Overall, Grapeland committed five errors and only had five hits which contributed to the loss and a 1-0 series deficit.

Currie went the distance for the Sandiettes and gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits. She also struck out seven batters and walked one.

Spring was credited with the win after she worked seven innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits. She also struck out 10 and walked one.

At the plate, the Sandiettes were led by DeCluette who was 2-4 with one RBI and a run scored. Anderson led the way for the Lady Tigers as went 1-3 with one RBI.

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