Barbers Hill scored a run in the bottom of seventh to slip past Friendswood, 2-1, in Saturday’s rain-plagued Region III-5A quarterfinal playoff game at The Ballparks in Crosby.
When the game resumed at 4:40 p.m. following a three and one-half hour weather delay, Friendswood had to deal with pressure both on and off the field.
The Lady Mustangs had taken a 1-0 lead in the top half of the fifth on the strength of a home run from Tricia Yarotsky before a weather delay was issued.
The Lady Eagles tied the game in the fifth when Amber Thibodeaux singled, stole second and eventually scored following two ground balls.
By that time, Friendswood had more to think about than just Barbers Hill as Saturday night’s senior prom loomed imminent.
Friendswood managed just one base runner in its final two at-bats, setting the stage for Barbers Hill to pull out the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Thibodeaux led off the inning with a walk, was bunted to second and then scored the walk-off run when Stephanie Niemann singled to second.
The setback left Mustangs coach Christa Williams with bitter feelings about both the outcome of and the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s game.
“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.
When dry weather was forecast for Friday followed by more rain on Saturday, Williams was unable to get Fuller to agree on moving the contest up.
“This is part of the reason we wanted to play on Friday,” Williams said. “Prom is important to kids. They spend a lot of money. This is hard on them.”
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 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 Mustangs defense turned a pair of double plays.
Friendwood 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.
“There’s no getting around it, we had our opportunities,” Williams 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.”