Houser overcomes injury, leads MHS back to playoffs

Midland High junior Breigh Houser is glad to be back on the softball diamond this season, and the Lady Bulldogs are happy to have her.

Houser missed all of the district campaign and the postseason as a sophomore after she tore the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in her left knee.

Now fully recovered, Houser has been a well-rounded contributor for the Lady Bulldogs (27-7), as she bats third in the MHS ‘lineup, and has played catcher, third base and shortstop as a versatile defender.

Houser and the Lady Bulldogs will start their postseason journey when they face El Paso Pebble Hills (26-10) in a best-of-three Class 6A bi-district playoff series. Game 1 is at 6 pm Thursday at Martin Field; Game 2 is at 6 pm CDT Friday at Pebble Hills; and if needed, Game 3 will be at 12:30 pm Saturday at Martin Field.

It will be the first game for Houser and MHS since it finished the regular season in second place in District 2-6A after losing a 3-2 heartbreaker to Wolfforth Frenship in nine innings last Friday for the league championship. Houser and her teammates are now motivated to keep the season going for pitcher Alex Aguilar, the passing only senior.

“Those losses (to Frenship), I think they definitely hit hard, and Alex does not want to lose like that again and neither do we, so we’re going to do our best to not let that happen again,” Houser said .


In the early part of the 2021 season, Houser tore her ACL and meniscus when she hyperextended her knee going for a ball at third base. Houser said it took 9 ½ months of rehabilitation for her to recover from the knee injury.

Houser said her family, friends, teammates, head coach Shawnda Vines and assistant coach Emily Ramsey were supportive and provided encouragement to help her overcome the injury.

“Especially when I just had surgery, I was not able to walk,” Houser said. “I was not able to do anything for myself. That was definitely a mental spot that I had to overcome. At one point, I wanted to quit playing but now we’re back. “

Houser has no hard feelings or regrets even though she did not get to play during the bulk of the Lady Bulldogs’ 27-6-1 season last year that included a district championship.

She believes the experience made her stronger.

Houser used the downtime to pay closer attention to what was happening in the Lady Dawgs’ softball games as a scorekeeper.

“It was hard getting hurt right before the district,” Houser said. “After a while, I feel like if that did not happen, I would not be who I am right now without the injury last year.

“It definitely put the game in a different perspective because I was on the bench a lot and all I had to do was watch it. The mental side of it, it made me a better player. ”

Earlier this season, the Lady Bulldogs lost their longtime starting catcher Samantha Bustos briefly to an injury, so Houser had to fill in and catch Aguilar. It was a good fit as Houser and Aguilar already had a battery going back to their youth softball days.

Houser has also provided a steady power bat in the middle of the lineup. She only struck out three times in 45 district at-bats this season.

Vines notices that Houser has fun, above all else, on the field.

“It was a setback, but I thought she wanted to be on the field badly,” Vines said of last year’s injury. “She did not like having to sit out and it did influence how she approached coming into the season. I think that she worked hard to be able to get back on the field. She’s fun. She just enjoys on the field. She loves playing softball. Any kind of softball. ”

Houser was destined to play bat and ball sports, as her affinity and passion for softball was heavily influenced by her family.

“All of my siblings played and I am the youngest of four,” Houser said. “I’ve been going to baseball and softball games since I was born. Ever since I was able to walk, I was playing in the front yard with my siblings and playing catch and hitting the ball. That who really taught me was my older brothers and my sister. ”

With her setback behind her, Houser is back where she feels at home the most, on the turf at Martin Field.

Follow Christopher on Twitter: @chris_MRTsports

CLASS 6A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

MIDLAND HIGH VS. EL PASO PEBBLE HILLS

When / where: Game 1: 6 pm Thursday, Martin Field; Game 2: 6 pm CDT Friday, Pebble Hills HS; Game 3: 12:30 pm Saturday, Martin Field if needed

Records / seeds: MHS 27-7, no. 2 in District 2; Pebble Hills 26-10, No. 3 in District 1

What to watch

The Lady Spartans placed third in District 1-6A with an 8-6 record. Pebble Hills has averaged 9.8 runs a game. “Looking at their stats, they score a lot,” Vines said of the Lady Spartans. “Chances are they have a good offense, putting the ball in play. Our defense is going to have to be able to stand up to that for the games that we have against them. We know they’re pretty scrappy. ” … Aguilar, a Wichita State signee, finished off District 2-6A play with a 9-3 record, a 0.80 earned run average and had 154 strikeouts to only 16 walks over 87 2/3 innings pitched. … Vines believed her Lady Bulldogs showed a lot of fight and heart by overcoming an early 2-0 deficit in last Friday’s 3-2 loss to Frenship in nine innings for the District 2-6A title. “We came up short, but it does not mean we did not play well,” Vines said. “I thought that the kids played well, and I think it’s good going into the playoffs knowing that you can play that hard.”

Next: Winner plays winner of Fort Worth Boswell and Southlake Carroll, area round

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