No. 1 Friendswood closes out regular season unbeaten

FRIENDSWOOD — Friendswood beat Texas City 8-1 in the final game of the 2021 regular season to do something no other Friendswood team had accomplished in history of the baseball program.

The Mustangs will face the Nederland Bulldogs in a best-of-three series in the 5A Region III bi-district playoffs.

Game One will send Friendswood to Nederland on Thursday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. Game Two will bring the game to Friendswood on Friday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m. Game Three (if needed) will be TBD.

The Mustangs finished with an 24-0 overall record while ranked as the No. 1 Class 5A baseball team in the state.

But Friendswood head coach Cory Benavides was quick to point out that a new season begins in the playoffs and every team is 0-0.

“This is special,” Benavides said. “From the beginning in the fall, it’s been about the attention to detail and getting the little things right because we can’t just rely on talent alone.”

The Mustangs were determined to close out an unbeaten season as then jumped out to a 3-0 lead against the Stings in top of the first frame.

Isaiah Winkler drew a one-out walk, and then scored all the way from first base when Izaac Pacheco stroked an RBI double down the right field line. Dylan Maxcey then followed that with an RBI double, and after advancing to third on a wild pitch, the catcher’s courtesy runner Ty Brantley scored on a grounder hit to first by Boots Landry.

Friendswood pushed its lead to 5-0 in the top of the second with the first of that inning’s two runs coming after Reed South was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a double from Kevin Newkirk and raced home when the ball on the double was misplayed. Pacheco then drove in Newkirk, who moved to third on a wild pitch, with an RBI sac fly.

Texas City scored its lone run in the bottom of the fourth, but the Mustangs extended their lead with a run in the top of the fifth and two more in the top of the sixth courtesy of an RBI sac fly from South, an RBI single from from Maxcey and an RBI sac fly from Landon Montemayor.

“We’ve got to keep our head down and keep working,” Benavides said. “It’s a brand new season. I’m super proud; we’re going to celebrate today and we can celebrate this the rest of the week, but we’ve got to get working. We’ve got to start all over.”

Jacob Rogers (six innings, two hits, one earned run, two walks, eight strikeouts) had a strong outing to pick up the win on the mound. Reliever Jaxson Burch hit one batter and struck out two in the final inning.

Having multi-hit games for the Mustangs were Pacheco (2-for-4), Maxcey (2-for-4) and Landry (2-for-3).