MAGNOLIA — Magnolia West kicked off the second half of District 19-5A with a 4-2 win over Brenham at home Thursday night.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 17 in Class 5A by the Texas Girls Coaches Association, scored all their runs in the third inning and hung on to complete the season sweep of the Cubettes. The first meeting was a 1-0 win on March 2 to kick off 19-5A play.
“We’re two pretty similar teams,” Magnolia West coach Jeremy Collins said. “We have really good pitching, play defense really well and we can hit. We knew coming in it would be a pitcher’s duel, no doubt.”
The win is the 11th in a row for the Mustangs (19-4, 8-0), but Collins says that’s not a concern for his team.
“The good thing about this team is we work hard every day,” he said. “Nobody says how many wins we have right now, they just show up and get to work. That’s all you can ask as a coach — put in the work and expect to win. That’s what they do.”
Magnolia West found its rhythm after stranding a runner apiece in the first two innings and seeing six strikeouts from Brenham’s Della Jasinski. The Cubettes pitcher tossed a complete game with six hits allowed, 11 strikeouts and two walks.
The Mustangs broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning. Lakyn Hacker singled to start the process and was joined on base by Hailey Toney, who reached on an error, and Toni Tamborello, who was walked.
The first run, scored by courtesy runner Victoria Vaughn, came home when Haleigh McDonald was hit by a pitch. Toney scored on an Olivia Castillo groundout to make it 2-0, then courtesy runner Fallon Bettin and McDonald scored on a Brooklyn Day grounder that hopped off first base and into right field.
Liberty Herrera and Hacker led the way at the plate for Magnolia West with their 2 for 3 efforts. Day, a freshman right fielder, made the most of her one hit on the night.
“It felt really good,” Day said. “I was excited to get the hit because I was under pressure and made my way through.”
Down 4-0, Brenham (16-8, 5-3) answered in the top of the fourth. Leadoff hitter Kramer Eschete stole second and third base after an infield single, then scored after a pitch found the backstop.
Eschete, who was 4 for 4, led off the top of the sixth with a dribbler for another infield single and again stole second and third. A Jenna Hardy double that was nearly caught in right field scored Eschete to make it 4-2. After walking the next batter, Tamborello struck two to strand a pair of Cubette runners.
Alivia Kiser and Hacker singled in the bottom half of the sixth. Eschete dove in center field to catch the third out, robbing Toney of a hit and the Mustangs of at least one run.
The Cubettes made a push in the seventh but couldn’t score a run. After a leadoff walk, Eschete hit a two-out double up the left field line to put a pair of runners in scoring position. A ground out to second base ended the game.
Tamborello pitched a complete game for the Mustangs with five hits allowed — four to Eschete — nine strikeouts and four walks.
“She’s our senior leader in the circle and really, honestly, we’re here because of her,” Collins said of the pitcher. “’She’s leading us from the circle and has done a really good job this year — been a staple in the hitting lineup and in the circle.”
The Mustangs haven’t clinched anything yet but are well on their way to the program’s first playoff appearance since 2017. Magnolia West hosts Katy Paetow at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night, a team it beat 28-2 the first time around.
“We’re taking it a game at a time and want to make sure we knock the team that’s in our way out so we can progress as we go on,” Day said. “That’s what our goal is — we don’t worry about what’s up ahead, we worry about what’s happening right now.”