By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies welcomed the Kennard Tigers to town on Monday evening for a non-district game. The Sandies are in a fight for the second-place seed out of District 21-2A while the Tigers are currently ranked #2 in Class 1A.
It was hoped the game would be a good test for both teams when it was scheduled and as the teams round into playoff form, the contest lived up to its billing.
The intra-county matchup was a back-and-forth affair as the Tigers seized an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second only to see the Sandies come back to go ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the frame.
Grapeland extended the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the third but Kennard plated two in the top of the fourth to tie things up at four. The Tigers re-took the lead in their next at-bat as they crossed the dish three times to take a 7-4 lead.
Kennard would tack on a run in the top of the sixth while Grapeland would score once in the seventh. Unfortunately for the home team, it wasn’t enough as the 2021 Class 1A State Runners Up held off the Sandies to win the game by a final score of 8-5.
Jaden Kalins picked up the win with 6.1 innings of work. He gave up five runs (only one earned) on nine hits, struck out 10 and walked one. Ryan Pilkington pitched the last two-thirds of the seventh for the save and struck out one.
Peyton Prater got the start for Grapeland and pitched 3.2 innings. He gave up four runs (two earned) on one hit, while striking out four and walking five. Jax Vickers took the loss in 0.2 innings of work. He gave up three runs (two earned) as he walked four and struck out one.
At the plate, Kennard was led by Kalins who went 1-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Elijah Dowdy was 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Sandies offensive attack was led by Jason DeCluette who was 3-4 with a run scored while Jacob Vaden was 2-3 with a run scored. Peyton Prater was also 2-4 at the dish with a run scored.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.