By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies game against the Latexo Tigers was moved up a day to accommodate plans for Good Friday, March 30. In hindsight, the Tigers probably wish it hadn’t been.
The Sandies clobbered the Tigers 22-3 to remain undefeated at the newly-opened Sandie Field.
The Tigers actually took the early lead as they led 2-0 after the top of the first inning. Austin Driskell was on the mound for Grapeland and after getting Eli Filer to ground out to first, an error allowed Matthew Wheeler to reach first.
A wild pitch from Driskell moved Wheeler to second and he came around to score when Justin Bobbitt lined one up the middle. Bobbitt took second on the throw and scampered home on an error to make the score 2-0.
Driskell settled down to get the next two batters out and then turned the game over to his offense.
The Sandies responded in a big way. Driskell led off with a single to left and then Dylan Duhon walked. Josh Ackley was hit by a pitch and when Case Boyd came to bat, the bases were loaded.
Boyd delivered a single to left to plate Driskell and Duhon, but on the play, Ackley was thrown out at third. Ethan Peterson was up next and singled into the outfield to move Boyd up a base.
Blake Howard followed in the order and lofted a sac fly to center to drive in Boyd and make the score 3-2. Cooper Sheridan was the next batter and popped up to end the inning, but the Sandies had seized the lead and would not look back.
After back-to-back Ks of Sam Jones and Clay Cook, Filer reached on an error but was stranded at first when Wheeler popped up to end the Latexo half of the inning.
When Grapeland came to bat in the bottom half of the second, they crossed the dish nine times to put the game out of reach.
Cameron Navarette hit into a 6-3 force to lead off the inning and then the Sandies rattled off a pair of runs. BJ Lamb singled and then both Driskell and Duhon walked to load the bases. Ackley drew a walk to push Lamb across the plate.
Boyd was up next and was hit by a pitch to drive in Driskell and make the score 6-2. Peterson struck out for out number two and then the Sandies rattled off seven more runs.
Howard drew a walk to plate Duhon and then Cooper Sheridan connected on a single to drive in Ackley. Walks to Navarette, Lamb, Driskell and Duhon plated three more runs for Grapeland and made the score 11-2. A wild pitch allowed Lamb to sprint home and bring the Sandie scoring to a close in the second inning.
After Driskell retired the side in order to open the third inning, the Sandies crossed the plate five more times in the bottom half of the inning.
Boyd was hit by a pitch to open the inning, Peterson was walked and Howard singled to load the bases. Sheridan was up next and drew a walk to score Boyd.
Navarette followed with a single to plate Peterson and Howard to make the score 15-2. Jonathan Luce was up next and drew a walk and then Driskell hit a sac fly to drive in Sheridan and move Navarette to third. Luce stole second to give Grapeland two runners in scoring position and when Duhon grounded into a 6-3 force, Navarette crossed the plate to extend the Grapeland lead to 17-2.
The Tigers tacked on a run in the top of the fourth after Driskell gave up back-back singles to Hayden Duren and Jacob Catoe. Duren advanced to third on the Catoe’s single.
Driskell struck out Jones and then gave up a bunt to Cook who reached on an error. On the play, Duren scored but Catoe was thrown out at home. After a walk to Filer, Driskell re-grouped to strike out Wheeler and end the inning.
The bottom of the fifth saw the Sandies add five more runs to make the score 22-3 and after Howard came in to pitch in relief for Driskell in the top of the fifth, the game was called after he retired the side in order.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.