Baseball: Friendswood feasts on Clear Falls, 15-3
KEMAH -- On one of those rare evenings when Braydon Fisher doesn’t have his best stuff, the opponent needs to take advantage.
Friendswood was more than up to that challenge Tuesday night as the Mustangs chased the erratic Clear Falls’ ace out of the game and then feasted on the Knight bullpen for a 15-3 six-inning victory in a District 24-6A baseball game.
The triumph allowed Friendswood to jump into a tie for the league lead with Clear Creek, Clear Springs, Dickinson and the Knights, each with 2-1 records.
“It’s been a long time since we put all three phases of the game together,” Friendswood head coach Steve Hecker said. ”(Bradley) Wilcott did a good job of throwing strikes and battled out of that first inning.
″(Clear Falls) was all over him, and I told (Wilcott) that great pitchers overcome that, and he showed he was a frontline guy.”
Clear Falls led 2-0 after the first, but Friendswood scored once in the second inning, three times in the third, five times in the fifth and finished the deal with a six-run sixth.
Friendswood managed to get six hits off Fisher, who also hit four batters as he struggled to find the strike zone.
When Fisher departed in the fifth inning after retiring one batter, Friendswood put together four singles and two walks to open a 9-3 lead.
In the sixth-run sixth, the Mustangs belted out six more hits, including freshman Izaac Pacheco’s second two-run single of the night. Pacheco and catcher Payton Ditta each drove in four runs.
A 4-3 Mustang lead through four innings escalated into a run-rule game in just two innings.
“I was thinking this was going to be a 1-0 ballgame because that guy (Fisher) is so good,” Hecker said. “He can overpower a hitter at will.
“We got some hits and were able to move some runners over. Early on, it was critical that we got runners on.”
Every batter in the Friendswood lineup contributed to the victory.
Ditta delivered a two-run single in the third inning for a 3-2 lead, and Seth Barber punched a single to left for a 4-2 score.
After Falls trimmed the lead to 4-3 on Anik Haldar’s infield single that scored Graham Whittington, Friendswood scored 11 straight runs.
Kevin Newkirk and Johnnie Nemecek smacked RBI-singles in the fifth in addition to Pacheco’s 2-run single to left. The fifth Mustang run in the inning came home on a bases-loaded walk to Marcus Huerta.
In the sixth, Pacheco and Cal Whitaker each lined two-run singles to center while Ditta’s opposite-field single to right brought in the final two Mustang runs.
Wilcott pitched five innings, allowing seven hits and three runs while striking out four. Ryan Vera worked the final inning to preserve the victory.
Clear Falls’ first-innning runs came on the first four pitches of the game -- a single by Willis Coleman, a double by Whittington, an RBI-single from Fisher and a sacrifice fly from Braxton Gerek. Wilcott settled down after that and Friendswood’s offense proved to be opportunistic.
“If you can chase the starter out of the game, you hope for situations where you can capitalize,” Hecker said. “It worked in our favor tonight, but who knows how it’s going to be Friday.
“Clear Falls is a great ball club that is incredibly well-coached. I know they’ll come after (Friendswood pitcher Brandon) Deskins Friday night.”