By JUSTIN RAINS
The defining story of the first game between Grapeland and Beckville in the regional final was how many opportunities the Sandiettes gave the Ladycats during the game.
The defining story of Game 2 was how unable Grapeland was to take advantage of its own opportunities.
The Sandiettes had baserunners in every inning, and sophomore pitcher Baylee Lumbreraz gave up only one hit, but Beckville topped Grapeland, 2-0, here at Lady Dragon Field to complete the 2-0 sweep.
With the win, the Ladycats move on to next week’s state tournament, while Grapeland ends its season at 26-13.
“We just didn’t put it together,” GHS coach Jim Dillard said. “We didn’t get that timely base hit (and) we couldn’t manufacture a run.”
Beckville took an early 1-0 in the top of the first inning when Taylor Lindsay led off with a walk before stealing both second and third and scoring on a groundout by Shelbi Dotson.
Grapeland threatened to level it in the second, when Julie Riess led off with an infield single and then moved to second on a throwing error. Riess then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Atlana Watson.
But Maddeylynne Mathis struck out looking to strand Riess at third and end the threat.
Grapeland looked primed to threaten again in the third, when Justine Dancer led off with a walk. But, Jayde Westbrook popped up her drag bunt attempt to Beckville catcher Madison McDaniel in foul territory.
Dancer then got caught off of first after McDaniel made the grab and was doubled up before she could get back to the bag.
In the fourth, it was Beckville’s gloves that kept Grapeland from at least threatening to score.
Shelby Bruner singled to right with one out, and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Riess to set up an RBI opportunity for Amy Brown.
Brown looked primed to deliver, sending a lined shot down the third base line. But, the ball was hit directly at Dotson, the Beckville third baseman, who made the quick grab to end the inning.
Beckville’s defense again saved them in the sixth.
This time it was Shelby Frauenberger on second after a walk and sacrifice ground out by Bruner, bringing up Riess.
Riess hit a ball to left field that looked prime to drop in for a single and possibly score Frauenberger, but Ivy Rieke made a diving grab to end the inning and the last true Grapeland threat.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to them,” Dillard said of Beckville. “They deserve to go (to state). They’re the better team this series.”
Brown reached on a walk to lead off the seventh for Grapeland, but a lineout by Mathis led to her being doubled up to end the game.
Beckville added its second run in the fifth, when McDaniel hit an easy ground ball to Watson at second. But, Watson’s throw was wide of Shelby Bruner’s glove, and Bruner’s attempt to get McDaniel at second also went high.
McDaniel then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a slow ground out to third by Cassidy Cox.
After issuing walk after walk on Thursday, Lumbreraz was more than solid in the circle for the Sandiettes Saturday.
The sophomore struck out nine and allowed only one hit, a slow infield single in the sixth that ended up not costing Grapeland anything.
“She was more mentally focused today,” Dillard said. “Much better performance today I thought, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at email@example.com