In an outing featuring a weather delay of more than two hours, the Barbers Hills Eagles scored an impressive 8-2 win over the Friendswood Mustangs in Game 1 of the Region III-5A baseball best-of-three playoff series at Schroeder Park on Wednesday night.
"Barbers Hill is a really good team that doesn't make a lot of mistakes, and we are too, but I've said it's going to come down to not only talent but who makes the least mistakes," Friendswood head baseball coach Cory Benavides said.
Barbers Hill etched its first run of the contest in the bottom of the first inning on Brodey Williams’ RBI single scoring Cameron Cauley, who led off with a single and moved to second base on a walk.
Cauley then blasted a one-out two-run home run over the left-field wall to drive in himself and Carson Garrett (leadoff walk) in the bottom of the second for a 3-0 advantage.
The Eagles pushed their lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Williams smashed a triple to deep center field and then scored on a throwing error during the play.
Barbers Hill put the game out of a reach with a four-run bottom of the sixth in a two-out rally. Braden Jacobs reached on a catcher’s interference call with one out, moved to third on walks to Garrett and Cauley, and then scored on a wild pitch. Jace Martinez walked to reload the bases, and Williams cleared the base paths with a three-run double.
Friendswood plated its lone runs in the top of the seventh to avoid the shutout. Landon Montemayor walked, and Reed South reached on an error to start out the frame. A fly out moved Montemayor to third, and he scored on Isaiah Winkler’s RBI single. Izaac Pacheco drove in South with an RBI single for the final tally.
The Mustangs actually out-hit the Eagles 9-6, but they stranded nine runners on the base paths, including five runners in scoring position. Hurting Friendswood's cause further were seven walks issued.
"Bases on balls killed us, and when we walked them, they knew how to make something happen," Benavides said.
Barbers Hill starting pitcher Hunter Mercer picked up the win on the mound with a solid performance. Mercer scattered nine hits in 6.1 innings with one earned run, one walk and three strikeouts.
Recording multi-hit games were Williams (3-for-4) and Cauley (2-for-3) for Barbers Hill, and Winkler (2-for-4), Pacheco (2-for-4) and Dylan Maxcey (2-for-4) for Friendswood.
The series resumes back at Schroeder Park on Thursday with an 11 a.m. scheduled start for Game 2.
"Tomorrow is a new day," Benavides said. "We've been through some adversity, and we're going to bounce back. We've got to."