FRIENDSWOOD – Thanks to Mother Nature, it took two days and two venues for the Friendswood Mustang baseball team to claim an 8-4 victory over the Milby Buffaloes in the second round of the Region III-4A playoffs. The game began in Deer Park on Friday in what was supposed to be Game 1 of a best-of-three series.
Hints of a coming storm — strong wind and lightning — caused play to be stopped.
As the game was about ready to resume, the rain started pouring down.
After a lengthy discussion, the coaches decided to resume play Saturday in Friendswood and turn the series into a winner-take-all game.
The Mustang offense struck early Friday night.
Andrew Barba got things started for Friendswood with a two-run double to score Lael Lockhart, who led off with a single, and Walker Williams, who walked.
The next batter, Carson Kaufman, ripped an RBI double to left, scoring Barba.
Carter Gwynne added a two-out, run-scoring single to score Kaufman to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead.
In the third inning, the Mustangs connected on six consecutive hits and scored four runs to increase the lead up to 7-1 before Mother Nature decided to get involved.
In the hit parade, Ryan Dupuis knocked a two-run single to score Barba, who connected on his second hit of the game, a single, and Kaufman, who had his second double of the game.
Before the delay, pinch hitter Hunter Kirkland blooped a run-scoring single to score Dupuis.
When play resumed Saturday in Friendswood, with the bases full of Mustangs and one out in the bottom of the third, Milby’s pitcher was called for a balk, which allowed Gwynne to score and increased the Mustangs’ lead to 8-1.
The Buffalos cut the Mustangs lead to 8-4, highlighted by consecutive two-out RBI hits — a triple by Rafael Rayes, and a single by Adrian Meza.
Mustang starter Ryan Shetter pitched three innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out five.
Relief pitcher Lael Lockhart, who started the top of the fourth inning, also pitched three innings, striking out five, and allowed two runs — one unearned.
Garrett Cragin, who competed in the high jump and finished eight in the state track meet in Austin on Friday, closed the game for the Mustangs by pitching the seventh inning.
Cragin struck out two and induced a groundout to secure the victory for Friendswood, who advances to play district rival Santa Fe, who upset defending 4A state champion Tomball.