Playoff softball is here as the Grapeland Sandiettes faced off against the Cross Roads Ladycats in the first round Thursday at Palestine High School.
The Sandiettes got on the board first in the second inning and took care of business the rest of the way, beating the Ladycats 9-1.
One of the biggest factors early in the game, and eventually throughout the game, was the pitching of Grapeland’s Baylee Lumbreraz. She finished with 18 strike outs and gave up just one walk.
Grapeland coach Jim Dillard said after the game that Lumbreraz’s pitching performance helped keep the Sandiettes on top early on.
“There’s no doubt about it; Baylee’s defensively our strong suit,” Dillard said. “She keeps hitters off balance. We don’t see many balls in the outfield and even the infield because she dominates. She’s been dominating most of the season.
“We’ve had our injuries, and we’ve had our ups-and-downs,” the coach added. “She’s coming back from an injury. This was her first performance in three games, so I’m real proud of her efforts and the numbers that she’s been able to put up.”
The match remained knotted up at 1-0 in favor of the Sandiettes until the top of the fifth inning when Grapeland tallied on another run.
The Sandiettes tacked on two more runs in the sixth before an offensive explosion in the seventh run saw Grapeland score five runs to bring the game to a 9-0 margin.
At one point in the top of the seventh, Grapeland put together five consecutive hits to score the runs. Grapeland’s Maddelynne Mathis gave the Sandiettes a great spark on offense as she went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI single.
The Sandiettes’ young players also played well in the playoff affair. Cheyanne Mixon, a sophomore, went 1-for-2 with two walks, a stolen base and a two-RBI double while Taylar Mullen, a freshman, went 1-for-2 also with two walks, a stolen base and an RBI double.