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Sandies Slide into First Place

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Grapeland Defeats Slocum, 10-3

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – With their win over the Slocum Mustangs on Friday, the Grapeland Sandies have a half game lead over the Mustangs and the Lovelady Lions for first place in District 21-2A.

The Sandies have a 7-2 district mark, while both Slocum and Lovelady are sitting at 6-2 as all three teams head into the homestretch.

On Friday, the Sandies jumped ahead of the Mustangs in the first inning and never looked back. Austin Driskell was on the mound for Grapeland and worked through an easy first inning. He got Taylor Hunt to fly out to right, forced Ben Haney to groundout, 4-3, and retired the side in order when Austin Sarraf popped out to left field.

Sarraf was on the mound for the Mustangs and gave up a lead-off single to his mound counterpart and then allowed Driskell to take second on a wild pitch. Dylan Duhon followed with a strikeout but Josh Ackley slapped a shot into centerfield to drive in Driskell with the game’s first run. Sarraf avoided any further damage and got out of the inning with the Mustangs trailing 1-0.

Driskell followed with another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second and when the Sandies came to bat in the bottom half of the inning, they tacked on three more runs. Lomax got Cameron Navarette to swing at strike three but Cooper Sheridan followed with a single to right.

BJ Lamb was up next and reached first on an error which pushed Sheridan to second. Driskell was up next in the order and singled into left. An error in the outfield allowed Sheridan to trot home which made the score 2-0, in favor of Grapeland.

After Dylan Duhon struck out, Sarraf walked Josh Ackley on four straight pitches to load the bases. Case Boyd was up next and came through for the Sandies with a line drive into right, driving in both Lamb as well as Driskell and making the score 4-0.

That was all she wrote for Sarraf as the Mustangs went to the bullpen and brought in Taylor Lomax who coaxed a 1-3 force from Ethan Peterson to end the inning.

Driskell found himself in a jam to open the third inning. He gave up a lead-off single to Joe Byrnes and then walked Randy Guess. A double play ball off the bat of Andrew Abernathy and a fly ball to center from Hunt, however, killed any chances the Mustangs had to get back into the game during the top of the third.

The Sandies padded their lead with two more runs in the bottom of the third. Blake Howard led off with a double but Lomax struck out the next two batters he faced and looked like he would get out of the inning unscathed despite Howard’s two-bagger.

An error on the Mustang defense, however, allowed Lamb to reach first and gave Howard the opportunity to round the bases and to give Grapeland a 5-0 lead. Lamb stole second and when Driskell roped a pitch into left, the speedy Lamb managed to cross the plate ahead of the throw and push the Grapeland lead to six.

Slocum got a run back in the top of the fourth. After Ben Haney hit into a 6-3 force, Sarraf singled to left. Lomax followed with a ball that was lost in the lights but advanced Saraf to third while Lomax slid into second.

An infield single from Dustin Fletcher drove in Saraf and cut the Grapeland lead to 6-1. Lomax was held at second on the play. After Colton Peters popped up to short, Joe Byrnes walked to load the bases. That was as close as the Mustangs would get however, as Guess popped up to Driskell on the mound to end the Slocum half of the fourth.

Grapeland added three more runs in the top of the fourth and one more in the fifth while Slocum scored twice in the sixth to bring the final score to 10-3, in favor of Grapeland.

Driskell picked up the win with six innings of work. He gave up three runs on eight hits, struck out two and walked three. He was relieved in the top of the seventh by Ethan Peterson who gave up one hit, struck out two and walked one.

Saraf took the loss in 1.2 innings. He gave up four runs on five hits, struck out three and walked two. Lomax worked 4.1 innings in relief and gave up six runs on one hit. He struck out seven and walked three.

At the plate, Boyd was 1-3 with three RBI and one walk for the Sandies while Fletcher was 1-3 with one RBI and a walk for Slocum.

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

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