Magical season comes to an end for Lady Mustangs

FRIENDSWOOD — At the start of the season, it didn't look like the Friendswood Lady Mustangs would make the playoffs after a 2-4 start in District 24-6A action.

But the gritty Friendswood girls went on a winning streak that earned them the No. 3 seed in the post-season and the opportunity to face one of the top teams in the state in the Deer Park Lady Deer.

Friendswood made the playoffs for the first time since moving up to 6A. And then they beat perennial state power Brazoswood in bi-district two out of three games.

But things didn't go as well against the Lady Deer as they lost the first game 11-3.

The Lady Mustangs certainly weren't going to be intimidated as they chased Deer Park starter Erin Edmoundson with a three-run outburst featuring four hits and two walks in the opening frame.

Elizabeth Higgins struck the big hit with a two-run singled as Friendswood built a 3-0 lead.

"Friendswood came out to play," said Deer Park Carrie Austgen. "It wasn't Erin's typical game. Her ball wasn't breaking as much."

But Deer Park wasted little time in gaining control of the game as they scored six runs in their half of the first and never looked back leading 6-3.

The Lady Deer sent 10 batters to the plate scoring six runs on eight hits.

"I'm sure a lot of that is pressure of the situation," Friendswood head coach Christa Williams-Yates said. "My team is fairly young when it comes to playoff situations. I also think that we did not play our game defensively.

"Not taking anything away from Deer Park, they put the ball in play and they put pressure on your team. That is what Deer Park has always been great about. But we did not play our game at all defensively."

The Deer were able to keep their offense going and they added another five runs in the fourth as the Lady Mustangs bats went silent after the first.

Deer Park put Friendswood in a hole with the 11-3 first game win in their best-of-three series.

Deer Park 13 - Friendswood 6

They may have lost the series to end their season, but the Friendswood Lady Mustangs weren't going to go down without a fight.

The Lady Mustangs slapped out nine hits and scored three different innings. That total included putting three runs on the board in the first inning for the second game in a row.

"That's a tribute to my team," Friendswood head coach Christa Williams-Yates said. "We've preached all year long to not quit. From day one, we've fought all the way through. I'm super happy for them. This loss is sad, but I'm proud of them."

Emily Jackson sparked the three-run first inning outburst with a home run over the centerfield fence. Jackson had four hits in the series.

"EJ has been doing it for us all year offensively," Williams-Yates said. "She's a great kid. Whoever picks her up for college is heading in the right direction. Anyone who doesn't pick her up is crazy."

Celina Saenz added run-scoring singles in the fourth and sixth innings.

With Friendswood leading 3-0 after the opening frame, Deer Park got their offense cranked up scoring one run in the top of the second, three in the third, and two in the fourth for a 6-3 lead.

But the Lady Mustangs scored a run in their half of the fourth to close the gap to 6-4.

No one scored in the fifth and then the Deer unleashed a six-run sixth to jump out to a 12-4 lead.

Friendswood battled with two in the sixth to cut the margin to 12-6, but that is as close as they would get down the stretch.

The Lady Deer added one more in the seventh to shut the door with the 13-6 win to end the season for Friendswood at 19-14.

The win improves Deer Park's record to 32-4 and sends them to the regional quarterfinals to face Kingwood.