By Will Johnson
NECHES – The Grapeland Sandiettes traveled to Neches on Monday to take on the Neches Lady Tigers in a District 21-2A matchup. The game was pitcher’s duel through the first four innings until the Sandiettes exploded in their half of the fifth to blow the game open and win by a final score of 7-2.
Josey Sumpter was in the circle for Neches and while she found herself in a jam in the first inning with runners on second and third, she managed escape the inning with no damage.
Cadie Belle Currie opened the game as the Sandiette pitcher and after striking out Sumpter to open the bottom half of the inning, she walked Hannah Lovelady. Lovelady made it to second but that was as far as she got, as Currie coaxed back-to-back ground outs from Jayci Mannix and Hannah Cariker.
In the second inning, Sumpter dominated the Sandiette batters. After striking out Megan Holbrook to open the inning, she walked Madison Holbrook and then struck out Haylee Reed and KeKe Harris to end the top of the second.
Currie was equally effective as she got the lead-off batter to tap back to the mound, walked the second batter of the inning and then retired the next two batters she faced to move the game into the third inning.
In the third, Sumpter ran into a jam once again as Taylar Mullen reached first on an error and moved to third on a steal and dropped third strike. On the play, Diamond Maines-Dunn reached first and then stole second.
Sumpter managed to shake off the errors and worked her way out of the jam as she retired the next two batters she faced.
Currie gave up two hits in the bottom of the third but sandwiched the hits between a pair of groundouts and strikeout to end the inning.
As the game moved into the top of the fourth, The Holbrook sisters came through for the Sandiettes. Megan Holbrook led off with a double into center and moved to third on a sacrifice by Madison Holbrook.
On the play, an error was made which allowed Madison to reach first. After back-to-back strikeouts from Sumpter, she uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Megan to scamper home with the game’s first run.
Currie worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning and then got all the run support she would need in the fifth as the Sandiettes took advantage of several Neches errors to plate five runs.
Maines-Dunn led off with a single and came around to score on a throwing error, which allowed Hailie Sheridan to reach base. Sheridan Crossed the dish after Currie lined a shot to left to make the score 3-0.
Reagan Bishop came in to run for Currie and after Hannah Chipman struck out, Bishop came around to score on Megan Holbrook’s single to right.
The Sandiettes plated two more runs in their half of the fifth before Sumpter was able to record the inning’s final out, but by the then the damage was done as Grapeland led 6-0.
The Lady Tigers battled back to cut the deficit to four in the bottom of the sixth. After forcing a pop up from the innings leadoff batter, Currie yielded four straight hits which resulted in two Neches runs.
Currie managed to regroup and retired the next three batters she faced to keep the Sandiettes ahead 6-2. The Sandiettes tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh and held the Lady Tigers at bay in their last at-bat to record the 7-2 win.
Currie picked up the win as she went the distance and gave up two runs on seven hits. She also struck out four and walked one.
Sumpter was saddled with the loss after worked seven innings seven runs on nine hits. She struck out 13 and walked one.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.