Win Moves Grapeland into Regional Finals
By Will Johnson
LONGVIEW – The Avery Lady Bulldogs had a chance to change the outcome of their 13-0 blowout loss to the Grapeland Sandiettes in the first inning but failed to take advantage of their opportunity. As a result, the Sandiettes scored two in the first, three in the second, seven in the third and one in the fourth on their way to a 13-0 drubbing of the Lady Bulldogs.
Cadie Belle Currie was in the pitcher’s circle for the Sandiettes and looked a little shaky in the first inning. Alexis Coughran led off for Avery and drew a walk. Next up was Cassidy Kelsoe who struck out on three pitches.
Jill Whitney followed Kelsoe in the batting order and connected for a double off of Currie, which moved Coughran to third. Kelsea Clark attempted to bunt Coughran home but popped up to Kiera De
Cluette at third base and then Brenna Brown tapped back to Currie in the circle who threw to Hannah Chipman at first for the third out. That was as close as the Lady Bulldogs would get to scoring a run.
When the Sandiettes came in to bat, they pushed across a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead. Cierra Simon led off with a walk issued by Lady Bulldog pitcher Jill Whitney. Simon stole second, stole third and crossed the plate on a single from Kiera DeCluette.
DeCluette stole second and then Whitney struck out Cheney Boyd. Hannah Chipman followed in the order and managed to sacrifice DeCluette to third. Madi McCombs was up next and she smacked a single into left to drive in DeCluette which made the score 2-0.
After Whitney struck out KeKe Harris, the Lady Bulldogs had another scoring opportunity fall by the wayside. Maggie Taylor and Meagan Roberts opened the top of the second with back-to-back singles.
Taylor, however, was called out for runner’s interference, while Currie forced Quinn Lipe to pop out to short. Megan Watson was up next and grounded to first to end the Avery scoring opportunity.
Grapeland tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the second. Diamond Dunn drew a lead-off walk and then stole sec
ond. Haylee Reed and Teira Jones followed with back-to-back strikeouts, but then Whitney lost her control as she walked Simon and DeCluette to load the bases.
That brought Boyd to the plate and on a 1-0 pitch, Boyd smacked a shot that went just under the glove of Avery’s shortstop. The hit allowed Dunn, Simon and DeCluette enough time to motor around the base paths and extend the lead to 5-0.
After Chipman fanned to end the inning, the Lady Bulldogs tried desperately to scratch out a run. Coughran reached on an infield single, but Kelsoe struck out on three pitches once again. Whitney drew a walk and moved Coughran to second but then Clark hit into a 1-5-3 double play to end the Avery half of the third.
The Sandiettes put the game on ice when they came in from the field as they scored seven runs and took a 12-0 lead.
McCombs led off and reached on an infield error. Harris drew a walk and then Dunn s
acrificed McCombs to third and Harris to second. Reed was up next and hit a shot that was mishandled at short which allowed McCombs to score and Harris to move to third.
Following a strikeout of Jones, Simon followed with a walk to load the bases. DeCluette also drew a walk which pushed Harris across the plate. Boyd was up next and ripped a single into left to drive in Reed and Simon.
DeCluette held up at second but moved to third when Chipman walked to re-load the bags. McCombs followed with a single to drive in DeCluette and then Harris singled to push Boyd and Chipman across the plate.
Whitney finally got out of the inning when she fanned Dunn on three consecutive pitches, but when Currie returned to the circle she shut down the Avery lineup by retiring the side – in order – on nine pitches.
The Sandiettes scored another run in the bottom of the fourth when Reed trotted home following a DeCluette triple. After that, the Sandiettes turned the ball over to Currie as she made short work of the Lady Bulldogs in the top of the fifth to win the game for Grapeland by a score of 13-0.
Highlighting the fifth inning was a spectacular defensive play by Boyd. Watson looped a little flare into shallow right field. Boyd ranged from her second base position all the way into shallow right to field the ball, turned and fired to Simon who was covering the bag at second where Simon tagged out Watson as she tried to give the Lady Bulldogs a jump start.
Currie was credited with the win after she worked five innings, gave up five hits, recorded two Ks and walked a pair of Lady Bulldogs.
Whitney took the loss in four innings. She gave up 13 runs (five earned) on seven hits.
She also struck out nine and walked eight.
At the plate, the Sandiettes were led by Keira DeCluette and Cheney Boyd. DeCluette was 2-2 with three runs scored, three RBI and two walks. Boyd was 2-4 with one run scored and five RBI.
Five players went one for two on the Avery squad.
After the game, Coach Joel Barbosa was asked if he expected this easy of a time in advancing to the Regional Finals.
“I knew they (Avery) hadn’t been pushed,” he said. “They had only played 17 games. We played our 39th today. They had not faced the opposition that we had faced so I told the girls have fun. That was part of our game plan. Take out their first four hitters – that’s their lifeblood.”
The top of the Sandiettes lineup simply wore out the Avery defense and Barbosa was asked for his thoughts on the Grapeland offense.
“They have been on all season. They have truly been the catalysts. Ciera has been a vocal leader and Kiera has been a silent killer. She has a .640 batting average and an RBI machine. Now, we’ve been waiting on Cheney to wake up a little bit and she certainly woke up today. She had five or six RBI but more impressive was that throw she made from out in right field to get the girl at second,” he said.
The Sandiettes will take on the Woden Lady Eagles on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. The tentative location, as of press time, is at Angelina College.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.