Ryan 12, Birdville 2
Ryan sophomore Abby Buettner hits a three-run home run against Birdville during Game 2 of a Class 5A playoff series Saturday at Tina Minke Field. Ryan won 12-2 to take the area championship.
Abby Buettner spent most of this week’s area-round series against Birdville getting intentionally walked. Of her nine plate appearances, the Maryland pledge was given a free pass seven times.
The strategy didn’t work out too well for Birdville, whether Buettner was allowed to swing or not.
“If I’m pitched to, my goal is always to drive the ball,” Buettner said. “But I laugh most of the time when I’m walked because I’ve got the same [hitters] behind me.”
Ryan (32-3-1) moves on to face Haslet Eaton in the region quarterfinals. It will be a best-of-three series, with Game 1 slated for 7 p.m. Friday. Game 2 will be Saturday at noon and followed, if needed, by Game 3.
The location for the series had not been determined at press time.
The Lady Raiders head into that series with a ton of momentum. Ryan had nine hits Saturday and rolled up 25 runs for the series. Brianna Leeds tossed a four-hitter and drove in three runs. Haley Florence was 2-for-2 with two RBIs.
Birdville (13-16) walked 12 batters — including five straight in the fifth — as Ryan picked up the run-rule win.
The win was vindication for No. 3 Ryan after losing to Birdville in this same round a year ago.
“The first inning was paramount to our success,” Ryan coach Matt Buettner said. “Brianna got the 1-2-3 inning and then we got the big hit. That sets the tone and makes it easy on everyone.”
Leading 5-0 after the first, Ryan scored another run in the second before sending eight batters to the plate as part of a four-run third. Leeds capped that frame with a two-run single that just happened to come immediately after Birdville intentionally walked Buettner.
It was a stellar outing for Leeds, who was touched up pretty good Wednesday in a 13-9 win. With the chance to close out the series and avoid Game 3, she held Birdville scoreless through the first four innings and surrendered just one walk.
“It was a good win,” Matt Buettner said. “If you look back at the intentional walks, we scored on almost all of them. If you give us a free base, we like our chances.”
Ryan 12, Birdville 2 (5)
Birdville 000 02 — 2 4 1
Ryan 514 02 — 12 9 1
WP – Brianna Leeds. LP – Jasmine Bell. 2B – Payton Walker (Birdville). HR – Abby Buettner (Ryan). Records – Ryan (32-3-1). Birdville (13-15).