With their season on the line in a winner-take-all one-game Region III-5A playoff series, the District 22-5A champion Friendswood Lady Mustangs erupted for a five-run top of the sixth inning to survive and advance with a 9-5 win over Dayton on Thursday.
Down 5-3 against the underdog Lady Broncos and with two on (Lauren Adams, single; Reagan Jones, walk), Amani Adi shaved a run off the deficit with an RBI single. Tricia Yarotsky kept the rally going with a run-scoring error, and then KK Esparza came through with a game-winning three-run home run.
Friendswood added an insurance run in the top of the seventh after Elizabeth Higgins led off with a single, Bayleigh Lay singled, and then, following a sacrifice bunt, Jones drove in courtesy runner Carol Langston.
Errors proved costly for both teams in the first inning.
For Friendswood, Chloe Riassetto reached on a two-out error, and after a Higgins single, was driven home on a Lay RBI double. In the bottom half of the inning, a walk, an error and a two-run error allowed Dayton to take a 2-1 lead.
Another two-out rally saw the Lady Mustangs re-gain the lead in the top of the second. Adi and Yarotsky hit consecutive singles to extend the inning, and Esparza lined a two-run single for a 3-2 lead.
Dayton’s Cassie Deluna smashed a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to go back out in front.
The Lady Mustangs mashed out 14 base hits, led by multi-hit games from Higgins (3-for-4), Adi (2-for-3, two runs, one RBI), Esparza (2-for-4, five RBIs, one run), Yarotsky (2-for-4, one run) and Lay (2-for-4, one RBI).
Friendswood moves on to the area round next week to face the winner of Friday’s game between Manvel and Houston Milby.