Lady Mustangs drop heartbreaker to Barbers Hill

MANVEL — When a team is facing a one and done series with another state-ranked team, the ideal situation is to have everything going smooth for a positive outcome.

However, that wasn't the case when the No. 7 state-ranked Friendswood Lady Mustangs faced the No. 2 state-ranked Barbers Hill Lady Eagles in a one-game playoff that would determine which team would advance in the post-season.

There were two major hurdles that faced the Lady Mustangs while the Lady Eagles shared one of those hurdles.

The first was the weather as the two teams began play and then had to stop after four-and-a-half innings when the weather delayed the game three-and one-half hours.

Both teams had to share in the delay and be affected.

However, Friendswood had something else looming over the horizon and that was they were trying to finish the game so the senior girls could get ready for the prom.

Both circumstances were upsetting to head coach Christa Williams-Yates and her girls.

“This is the second time I’ve had to deal with a rain delay,” she said. “It’s the second time that I’ve had to deal with a coach that wants to make us play because of prom, or because a kid is missing for state (competition). It’s always ended this way.”

Williams was upset that Barbers Hill coach Aaron Fuller insisted on a Saturday game even after being informed of Friendswood’s scheduled prom.

Both teams battled to a scoreless tie 0-0 for the first four innings and then Friendswood's Tricia Yarotsky blasted a home run over the left centerfield wall giving the Lady 'Stangs a 1-0 lead before the delay was issued.

Once play resumed, Barbers Hill tied up the game 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Amber Thibodeaux singled, stole second and eventually scored following two ground balls.

Neither team scored in the sixth as Friendswood went three-up, three-down while Barbers Hill got a runner on base in the bottom half of the sixth, but a double-play retired the side keeping the game tied.

In the top of the seventh, Friendswood put a runner on base when Haven Franks drew a one-out walk, but Barbers Hill got a strike out and line out keeping the game tied.

In the bottom of the seventh, Thibodeaux led off the inning with a walk, was bunted to second and then scored the walk-off game-winner when Stephanie Niemann singled to right field giving Barbers Hill the 2-1 win.

On the field, Friendswood faced a formidable challenge with Barbers Hill pitcher Samantha Landry. Yarotsky’s home run was the lone hit allowed by Landry, who walked five and struck out 10.

“We struggled all day with hitting,” Williams-Yates said. “(Landry) threw hard and that’s about it.” Barbers Hill collected eight hits and put 12 runners on base, but was unable to score early as the Lady Mustangs defense turned a pair of double plays. Friendswood also missed out on chances, loading the bases in the first and placing runners on second and third with one out in the third.

Landry defused both potential rallies with strikeouts.

Friendswood ends the season with a sparkling 24-5 mark while winning the District 22-5A crown with a perfect 14-0 mark.

“There’s no getting around it, we had our opportunities,” Williams-Yates said. “You can’t let any team, much less a good team, stay around like that when you have a chance. You have to put the dagger in.”

Williams-Yates still has to be encouraged after this year's team advanced the deepest they've been since 2010 while also having a very young team.

The darkness of this loss will pass as the horizon is bright for Friendswood.