Friendswood advances with win over Manvel

FRIENDSWOOD — For the first time since 2010, the Friendswood Lady Mustangs will advance to the 5A Region III quarterfinals in softball after knocking off Manvel 7-6.

Friendswood head softball coach Christina Williams-Yates was facing her former team prior to her arrival at Friendswood.

“We did just enough to win tonight,” Yates said. “That’s the main thing, just being able to survive and move on. Now, we have to figure out what we’re doing next week. … It was a good team win.”

The Lady Mustangs were facing another one or done playoff contest with the winner advancing to the next round.

Friendswood found themselves down early after Manvel scored two runs in the bottom of the first and second innings for a 4-0 advantage.

However, the Lady 'Stangs bounced back in the top of the third with three runs to cut the margin to 4-3.

With one out in the frame, KK Esparza walked, Elizabeth Higgins singled and Chloe Riassetto reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases setting up an RBI single by Bayleigh Lay with a second run scoring on a fielding error in left field. An RBI grounder from Lauren Adams drove in the third run of the inning.

But the Lady Mavs came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to push their lead to 6-3.

With one out, Hailey Ratcliff singled and Payton Wilsey walked to set up a two-run single that Brianna Garcia chopped through the right side of the infield.

The fifth frame turned out to be the magic inning for Friendswood as they sent across four runs to re-take the lead 7-6 which stood till the very end.

With one out, Tricia Yarotsky singled and Esparza reached on an error to set up an RBI single from Higgins. After Riassetto walked to load the bases, Lay was hit by a pitch for an RBI the hard way.

Adams followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game, and Reagan Jones came through in the clutch with the two-out, go-ahead RBI single for the 7-6 advantage.

With starting pitcher Riassetto struggling in the circle, Haven Franks came out of the bullpen to quiet Manvel’s bats and close out the game. Franks picked up the win by throwing 3.2 shutout innings with just two hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts.

“She was amazing, and the one thing about Haven is that she’s a competitor,” Yates said. “To see her come in tonight and not skip a beat, because she hasn’t thrown a ton of innings for me, she was lights out. So, I was super-proud of her tonight. She earned it.”

Friendswood’s Higgins (2-for-4, one RBI) and Manvel’s Garcia (2-for-3, two RBIs, one run) had multi-hit games for their respective teams.

The Lady Mustangs will face Barbers Hill on Saturday, May 11 at Clear Lake High School at 1:00 p.m.