Grapeland Falls to Woden, 3-0
By Will Johnson
HUDSON – The Grapeland Sandiettes softball season came to an end on Friday, May 3 as they fell to the Woden Lady Eagles in the Area Round of the playoffs by a final of 3-0.
The Sandiettes and Lady Eagles had split a double-header on Tuesday, April 30, with Grapeland winning Game One by a score of 5-2 while Woden took Game Two, 7-5.
While the first two games were played in Rusk – due to prior commitments of the Rusk softball field – the series was shifted to Hudson High School for Game Three.
Reese Taylor was in the pitcher’s circle for the Lady Eagles to start the game. She gave up a lead-off single to Kiera DeCluette and DeCluette wasted no time in stealing second base.
She attempted to steal third on a 2-1 pitch to Diamond Dunn, but was thrown out. Three pitches later Dunn was caught looking at strike three for the second out of the inning. Cadie Belle Currie was up next, but grounded out to first to end the Grapeland half of the first.
The Sandiettes sent Currie to the pitcher’s circle to start the game and she got two quick outs as Shelby Brookshire popped up to short while Skylar Smith grounded into a 1-3 force.
Taylor was the third batter of the inning and she ripped a 3-2 pitch into right for a double. Taylor made it to third on the play, but she was stranded there when Currie coaxed Amber Allen to fly out to short, which brought the inning to a close.
Cheney Boyd led off the second inning for the Sandiettes and fouled out. Cierra Simon followed with a line drive single into left but was picked off at first when she strayed too far off the bag. Madi McCombs also connected for a hit off of Taylor, but couldn’t go anywhere as Jaycee Graham grounded out.
Currie worked a 1-2-3 second inning as she got Meagan Johnson to fly out to third, retired Abby Chapel on a base running mistake and then struck out Madison Christopher to send the game into the third.
As the third inning got underway, Grapeland seemed impatient at the plate. Keke Harris flew out to left on a 0-1 pitch, Haylee Reed grounded out – also on a 0-1 pitch and DeCluette hit into a first pitch 4-3 force to end the top of the third.
While it took Currie a few more pitches, she was equally as effective as Taylor. She forced Chelsea Brookshire to foul out down the first base line and then got Briley Watkins to swing at a pitch out of the strike zone for the second out.
After a walk to S. Brookshire, Currie rang up Smith for her second K of the inning to close out the frame.
The next two innings saw Taylor and Currie dominate the opposing batters as both pitchers retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings.
Taylor also retired the side in order during the sixth inning, but Currie wasn’t as lucky. The way the game was going at the time, the Sandiettes and Lady Eagles might still be playing today, except for Grapeland miscues in the field.
Watkins dropped down a bunt and reached first safely when the ball was booted for an error. She moved to second when S. Brookshire hit into a fielder’s choice. A walk to Smith put runners at first and second with only one out.
Taylor was up next and slapped a shot that was mishandled for Grapeland’s second error of the inning.
With the bases loaded, Allen lofted a fly ball to center that was just deep enough to score Watkins from third. Three pitches later, Johnson laced a single through the middle of the infield.
Johnson’s two out single drove in Smith, along with Taylor, and made the score 3-0. Chapel was up next and grounded into a 6-1 force to retire the side, but the damage had been done.
Down to their final three outs of the season, the Sandiettes didn’t have an answer and went quietly in the top of the seventh, giving the Lady Eagles the Area Championship with their 3-0 win.
Currie was saddled with the loss after pitching six innings of two-hit, three-run softball. She also struck out three and walked two.
Taylor picked up the win for Woden as she pitched seven shutout innings. She gave up three hits and struck out four.
When the Grapeland coaching staff and players take time to review this series, they will see mistakes on the base-paths and errors in the field killed the Sandiettes’ chances to win.
Grapeland committed three errors in Game One, as did Woden. As a result, the first game was a wash and the Sandiettes were victorious. In Game Two, Grapeland committed four errors while Woden only made two as the Lady Eagles tied up the series.
In the deciding game, the Sandiettes committed two errors while the Lady Eagles had zero.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at [email protected].