RIO GRANDE CITY — Neither a change in location nor a one-hour delay slowed Laredo United.
During the top of the seventh inning, Kaila Ramos drove in Eva Garcia with a single and it proved to be the go-ahead run as the Lady Longhorns stunned the Lady Greyhounds 2-1, winning their one-game playoff in the Class 6A area round Friday night.
The one-game playoff was moved from Corpus Christi Tuloso-Midway earlier in the day because of weather.
United advances to the third round and will meet the Edinburg Vela-PSJA High winner.
Senior pitcher Kelly Salinas kept the Lady ’Hounds’ offense at bay. The senior righty threw a five-hit complete game, striking out six and allowing one run.
The Lady ’Hounds left eight runners on base, including during a key spot in the sixth when San Benito had runners on first and second. In the top of the seventh, San Benito put runners on first and second base, but a game-ending double play ended the attempted rally.
San Benito’s lone run came in the fourth inning, when AJ Jasso slid safely at home after a dropped third strike on Kate Garza for the second out of the inning.
“We had a lot of obstacles and had a lot of things that didn’t go our way,” San Benito coach Denise Lira said. “In a close game like tonight and us being in the second round in a lot of areas, it is tough. There is still a lot of emotions from being in the playoffs. It is a different opponent, a new field, and we had to change our site at the last minute, but that is no excuse. We just need to play.”
Senior Sarah Garcia took the ball for the Lady ’Hounds. Despite having not started a game in more than one month, she was sharp, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing eight hits and two runs.
“Sarah is an amazing athlete overall, and then you talk about her pitching and her composure and leadership as a senior,” Lira said. “I had her for two years, and I’m sure she played at a high level her freshman and sophomore years, so as a junior and senior I felt she deserved a start. And she was one of our top pitchers and is always going to be one of our top pitchers, and she just controls the circle so well and she is composed, and the girls play well behind her.”
San Benito will graduate five seniors, including Garcia, Jasso, Nana Carrizales, Steph Lopez and April Garcia. A few key pieces are expected to return to the San Benito roster in 2020, including Jordan Ramos, Megan Cavazos, Jaelynn Huerta and Kari Cisneros.
“The girls are very unique, and each brings a piece to our puzzle,” Lira said. “They picked up their leadership skills and maturity throughout the year, and I think they grew not only as seniors but grew and helped our program stay at the top of the district.”