It took two extra innings for the winner to be decided between the Marble Falls High School baseball team and Cedar Park March 16.
In the end, a pass ball allowed the Timberwolves (9-4-1, 1-0 District 25-5A) to score the game-winning run in the ninth inning for the 1-0 victory.
The Mustangs (4-5, 0-1) had two batters reach base when Jett Zurita and Evan NIckowski were hit by pitches with one out in the ninth inning. But Cedar Park pitcher Quint Mullen forced the next batter to fly out to left field, and he recorded the final out when a grounder rolled to him and he threw to first base.
Marble Falls head coach Tyler Porter commended his athletes for their efforts and noted this team is capable of more.
“I hope we’ve moved beyond the concept of moral victories,” he said. “We can play with anybody. But we didn’t get it done. We had a chance today, and we didn’t do it.”
That came in the eighth inning after pitcher Bryce Atkinson relieved starter Hudson McBryde. McBryde threw for seven innings and forced Cedar Park to strand five runners. But the Wolves got on base thanks to getting hit by a pitch and being issued a walk with no outs. That’s when Porter called for a pitching change. And Atkinson delivered.
The first out came on a grounder to shortstop Jake Carter, who threw home to catcher Isaias Roman. The second out came when Atkinson struck out the batter looking, and the inning ended when right fielder Cale Cochran caught the flyball and forced Cedar Park to leave the bases loaded.
Marble Falls left a total of seven batters on base. Cedar Park starting pitcher Kade Davis gave up four hits and one walk and struck out eight in eight innings.
“We couldn’t get the hit we needed,” Porter said. “At the beginning of the game, the wind was blowing and kept those long hits inside the park. We had guys hitting the ball early. But Cedar Park had to deal with the wind, too. That’s part of playing in the wind. We’ve got to get the bottom of the order going. We’re trending in the right direction.”
The coach commended McBryde on his performance but wasn’t surprised.
“That’s almost the game I expect,” Porter said. “It’s what I hoped to have to get a ‘w.'”
He also was equally happy with the defensive effort, noting the Mustangs didn’t commit an error and made every routine out, especially Cochran and Carter, who knew what to do when the ball was hit to them. Cochran threw a rare 9-6 out when a ball was hit to him in right field and he threw to second when the batter was trying to get an extra base.
“Cale looked great,” the coach said. “We needed to play error-free baseball, and we did. Jake Carter had two balls hit to him, and he did a great job on both of those.”
To Porter, the biggest areas of improvement won’t all come from spending large amounts of time in batting cages and fielding balls. It must come from within, he said.
“There’s no more hanging our heads,” he said. “Self-confidence is still what we’re lacking. We have to trust who we think we are. And we’re a good baseball team.”
Marble Falls travels to play at Georgetown, 2211 N. Austin Ave., at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 17.