To open up District 24-6A play, the Friendswood Lady Mustangs used key defensive plays and an early lead to get past the Dickinson Lady Gators by the final score of 6-5 on Tuesday night at Dickinson High School.
After leading 5-0, the Lady Mustangs were clinging to a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning facing a two-on and one-out situation, but Friendswood third baseman K.K. Esparza snagged a sharply hit ball down the left field line and fired it to first base to record a rally-killing double play.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Friendswood starting hurler Haven Franks slammed the door shut on the Lady Gators, retiring the side in order for the first 1-2-3 inning of the night to preserve the win.
In the top of the first inning Friendswood leadoff hitter Trisha Yarotsky reached base on a walk, was sacrificed to second base by Raegan Jones and scored on an error after Kendall Cross reached on a single, for the first run of the game.
The Lady Mustangs doubled their lead when Esparza singled home Cross for a 2-0 lead.
Yarotsky made a great defensive play in the bottom half of the first inning, knocking down a sharply hit ground ball that would have rolled all the way to the left field wall, possibly scoring two Lady Gators.
Instead, the great defense led to the Lady Gators leaving the bases loaded when Franks induced Lady Gators catcher, Mariana Vazquez, into a bases loaded ground out to shortstop.
Yarotsky doubled to deep right field to leadoff the third inning and the next batter, Cross, doubled her home with a double of her own for a 3-0 lead.
Later in the inning Cross would come around to score when Elizabeth Higgins drove Cross in from third base, on an RBI single to left, for a 4-0 lead.
Lauren Adams scored the fifth Lady Mustangs run, reaching home on an E3, in the top of the fourth inning.
Franks and the Lady Mustangs could only keep Baylee Klingler and the Lady Gators quiet for so long, as the Gators again loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Klingler took advantage of the situation, smashing a single to center field scoring Demi Slater and Marissa Vazquez, to cut the Friendswood lead to 5-2.
The next batter, Cailyn Peterson, singled home Dariane Cram and the Lady Gators were back in the game, down only two runs, 5-3.
Marissa Vazquez doubled in her sister, Mariana, in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut the lead to further to 5-4, and the Lady Mustangs would pad their lead to 6-4 in the top of the sixth, when Cross drove in Adams on a sac-fly.
Before Esparza’s great double play in the bottom of the sixth inning, Peterson drove in Cram to cut the lead to one point again, 6-5.
Next up for the Lady Mustangs (1-0) is a non district game against Buna at the Crosby Tournament, 1 p.m. Thursday.
The Lady Gators (0-1) also play a nondistrict road game against county rival Ball High, 6:30 p.m. Friday.