Barbers Hill rode a five run first inning, stellar defensive play and a workmanlike performance from sophomore pitcher Ayden Mooring to take Game 1 of the Regional Quarterfinal 8-2 over top-ranked Friendswood.
“On paper they should beat us every time,” BH head coach David Denny said of the Mustangs before first pitch. “They are loaded with Division 1 talent.”
Good thing for Barbers Hill that games aren’t played on paper and the Eagles took down the ranked team to take a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three matchup.
Eagle leadoff hitter Jace Martinez started things off with a walk and scored the first run of the game on a Gage Kimble RBI single.
Already up 3-0 after an error by the Mustangs, Briley Van walked to bring up Brady Thompson. Thompson sent a towering shot over the left field wall for a two-run home run stunning the Friendswood faithful.
The vaunted Mustang offense had their chances throughout the night. Mooring gave up seven hits, two walks and a hit batter. Friendswood was never able to put together the big inning they have been accustomed to having during the playoffs, thanks in large part to the play of the Eagle defense.
No play was bigger than that of the Eagles’ third baseman Martinez. With runners on first and second with no outs, the Mustangs were threatening to tie the game. In the fifth inning, Ayden Pearcy hit a shot down the third base line that looked to be for extra bases and two runs scored. Martinez laid out, full extension and robbed Pearcy of extra bases and Martinez was able to beat the runner to the bag for the force out. Mooring got a ground ball double play to the next batter, ending the Friendswood threat.
Thompson came on in relief of Mooring, pitching the sixth and seventh inning.
The Mustangs threatened again in the sixth inning after loading the bases. One run came across on a hit batter. The final out of the inning came with a little controversy. The Friendswood batter thought he was hit by the pitch, as did their head coach. The ball which was ruled to be a batted ball rolled to Martinez at third base, and he threw the runner out at first to end the frame.
Barbers Hill got three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth after four straight hits with two outs, to give the Eagles a commanding 8-2 advantage.
Game 2 was scheduled for Friday night at Jim Kethan Field at Deer Park. Check online for scores and updates.
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