Baseball: Friendswood, Magnolia set for showdown
Virtual strangers Friendswood and Magnolia meet in this week's Class 4A Region III baseball semifinals with the winner moving on against Santa Fe or Brenham.
Friendswood and Magnolia have not met on the baseball field for at least 10 years, and Game 1 of the series is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, with Game 2 at 4 p.m. Friday, May 27, and if needed, Game 3 follows game two, and all are at Kingwood High School — with a possible change of venue to University of Houston Cougars Field.
The region semifinals are all Districts 24-4A and 17-4A involving 24-4A champ Friendswood and runner-up Santa Fe, and 17-4A winner Brenham and runner-up Magnolia.
Senior Joe Kirkland and junior Jarred Greene are Magnolia's top starting pitchers and have led the Bulldogs to postseason triumphs over Kingwood Park 15-4 and 11-1, Nederland 5-3 and 9-4, and Montgomery 6-5 and 9-3.
"We've seen them throw, and we didn't have the radar gun, but it looked like 80-85 miles per hour from both," Friendswood coach Charlie Taylor said. "They have a solid defense, and four or five guys who are making good contact right now."
Friendswood pitching took over in a 7-0 blanking of Angleton in the region quarterfinals last week with sophomore Jordan Wood giving up six hits in six innings and junior Will Hibbs closing with a four-pitch seventh.
The Mustangs put up six runs in the first inning in an otherwise close contest.
"We executed the bunt and had some other breaks that kind of frustrated Angleton early on," Taylor said. "After that, it was really tight the rest of the way."
This is Friendswood's fourth straight trip to the region semifinals.
Friendswood defeated Port Neches Groves in three games in the semifinals before falling to Brenham in three in the region finals last year.
The Mustangs lost to Nederland in the 2009 region semis after winning the region title and advancing to state in 2008.
District 24-4A co-member Santa Fe came from behind against Lamar Consolidated to advance against Brenham.
Santa Fe dropped the opener 7-0 to Lamar Consolidated in the region quarterfinals, but won the next two 8-4 and 10-6 to move to the fourth round and set up a possible 24-4A showdown with the Mustangs in the region finals.
Local Advertising by PaperG