Cedar Park's season of adversity comes to an end in the third round

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The Cedar Park baseball team battled through adversity all season and ended the year in the third round of the playoffs.

The Timberwolves took Tomball to three games last weekend, losing the opener 5-2 on Thursday before winning Game 2 3-0 on Friday and falling 3-0 in the series and season finale later that day.

This was the fourth straight season they have made it to the playoffs, but this was the furthest they’ve advanced in that span. Kris Gawriluk, in his second year at the helm of the Timberwolves, improves his overall record to 43-20.

Cedar Park lost the first game of the playoffs in eye-opening fashion 11-1 to Magnolia but rebounded with 6-5 and 7-0 wins in the last two games of the opening round. The Timberwolves then beat Temple in the opener of Round 2, but dropped the second game and won the third to advance to Round 3.

Tomball got out to an early lead in Game 1 on Thursday, scoring on a fielder’s choice in the first inning. The Cougars doubled their lead after a stolen base and single up the right side in the fourth inning.

Jackson Molinaro doubled to lead off the sixth inning and Lance Holman doubled to right field two batters later to drive in the first run of the series for the Timberwolves. But it was the only run that would cross the plate. 

Mak Sexton pitched well in Game 2, allowing no runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Molinaro continued his hot postseason with a solo home run over the right-field wall in the fourth inning. Austin Hewitt grounded into a fielder’s choice in the seventh inning and Holman came around to score and put the game away.

The Cougars took a 1-0 lead in the third inning of Game 3 and added two more runs in the fifth. Cedar park managed just four hits in the game, led by Lane Holman, who finished 2-for-3 with one strikeout. Davis Blake and Austin Smith combined to allow three runs on five hits with four strikeouts.

Cedar Park was without two high profile players as pitcher future Texas player Cole Quintanilla missed the season with an arm injury and Southwestern University signee Hayden Craig was sidelined for the campaign as well. 

The Timberwolves had the best defensive performance in the district, allowing just 29 runs all year.

Despite losing a lot of talent, there is much to be excited about when it comes to Cedar Park baseball. One game in particular points to promising future the Timberwolves.

With man starters missing due to a violation of team rules, Cedar Park called up three kids from junior varsity and player younger athletes against Georgetown, who had lost one district game at the time, midway through last month. 

The underdog Timberwolves jumped out to an early lead and used a stellar pitching performance from Sexton to upset the Eagles and snap their nine-game winning streak. Cedar Park won its next two games to clinch third place in the district. 

“That showed us that nobody is bigger than the brand,” Gawriluk said after the win. “There is another guy that’s waiting to go fight for the brand and get it done. It excites me and I’m proud of our kids.”

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