NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Ryan coach Matt Buettner was pleased when he looked up at the scoreboard Wednesday to see his team had put up 13 runs. But he also breathed a sigh of relief that it was enough to steal early momentum in a best-of-three playoff series.
Brianna Leeds drove in four runs, Cecily Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Ryan outlasted Birdville for a 13-9 win in Game 1 of a Class 5A area-round playoff.
Birdville had two runners on and no outs in the bottom of the seventh but only scored once.
“Here’s the great thing — we didn’t play well but these girls found a way to win,” Buettner said. “That’s a sign of a good team.
“It’s nice to leave this place with a lead [in the series].”
The series shifts to Ryan’s Tina Minke Field for Game 2 on Friday at 7:30 p.m. If needed, Game 3 will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, also at Ryan.
If Wednesday’s game was any indication, the series could continue to provide fireworks. Rodriguez, Leeds, Harper Hughes and Katie Baeumler all had at least two hits for Ryan, which used a five-run fifth inning to take what looked to be a commanding 9-3 lead.
Birdville still trailed by six runs going into the bottom of the sixth but trimmed that deficit to three thanks largely to triples by Alicia Mora and Maygan Paul.
But Ryan always found a way to stay a few steps ahead. The Lady Raiders responded in the top of the seventh when Leeds laced a one-out double to the wall to score two runs. Birdville again put the pressure on in the bottom of the seventh, but Leeds got the next three batters out to seal the win.
Buettner praised his team for gutting out the win, especially the lower half of the lineup.
Ryan 13, Birdville 9
Ryan 040 052 2 — 13 13 4
Birdville 102 023 1 — 9 13 2
WP — Brianna Leeds. LP — Jasmine Bell. 2B — Brianna Leeds, Cecily Rodriguez, Abby Buettner (Ryan). Lencia Powell (Birdville). 3B: Alicia Mora, Maygan Paul (Birdville). Records — Ryan (31-3-1). Birdville (13-14).