UIL baseball playoffs: Westwood and Cedar Park roll into regional quarterfinals

Westwood coach Casey Carter says his team has learned from its early losses, and the Warriors have won 13 of their last 14 games to reach the regional quarterfinals.
Westwood coach Casey Carter says his team has learned from its early losses, and the Warriors have won 13 of their last 14 games to reach the regional quarterfinals.

Since the calendar turned to April, there’s been no hotter team in the Austin area than Westwood.

After a 2-5 start to district play through March, the Warriors flipped a switch and now find themselves in the Class 6A regional quarterfinals after sweeping San Antonio Brandeis in the area round for their 13th win in 14 games.

Though Westwood had to win six of its final seven district games and then a play-in game vs. Vandegrift to get into the playoffs, Warriors coach Casey Carter said the slow start to district might be paying dividends now.

“They say if you can learn from losses, you’re doing something good,” Carter said. “I think that might have been the best thing that could happen to us because we learned what we can and can’t do and that we have to be focused at all times.”

The Warriors have certainly been focused in the postseason.

They sent shock waves across the state by sweeping highly regarded Lake Travis in the bi-district round, and then after taking a 10-6 win in Game 1 Thursday, they finished off the Broncos with an 8-2 rout Friday at Westwood.

“I thought we played well this series,” Carter said. “It was a big challenge with Brandeis being a really good team out of a really good district. Our kids were focused and ready to step up to the challenge, and they were excited to play some more.”

Though Ridge Morgan and John Ramsey combined for a one-hitter Friday, the Warriors’ offense impressed most. Westwood finished with 16 hits in the series in a time of year when pitching is supposed to dominate.

More: Westwood, Rouse impress with bi-district baseball sweeps as more Austin-area teams move on

“We swung it well,” Carter said. “We had multiple extra-base hits, and the kids are buying in to our approach, really worked at it, and it’s really paid off. The kids squared up a lot of balls against two really good starters.”

Morgan’s RBI single and Grant Boren’s run-scoring double highlighted a three-run first inning that gave the Warriors the lead for good.

Owen Norrell blasted a solo home run in the fourth, and Ramsey ripped a two-run single and Jake Jones had an RBI double in a four-run fifth inning.

Morgan and Ramsey both finished with two hits.

Westwood will play San Antonio Johnson, which swept Bowie in the area round, in the regional quarterfinals.

Cedar Park in regional quarterfinals again

Someone forgot to tell Cedar Park the playoffs were supposed to be challenging.

A week after outscoring San Antonio 16-1 in an easy bi-district sweep, the Timberwolves cruised by Medina Valley in the area round 10-1 and 3-1 in a Class 5A series with both games finishing Friday at Smithson Valley.

“We’re playing pretty good baseball right now,” Cedar Park coach Tyler Farst said. “We’ve just got a bunch of good kids that are committed to a team approach and team plan. In Game 1, all of our starters had a hit. Our kids just do a good job with the little things.”

Brady Richardson struck out four in five innings and went 2-for-3 with four RBIs to lead the Timberwolves in Game 1. He was part of an offense that produced 14 hits, including Logan Hedges going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, Hudson Cuevas finishing 2-for-5 with a double and two runs driven in, and Drew Robertson recording two hits.

In Game 2, Cuevas’ triple, Robertson’s single and RBI at-bats from Carter Woehl and Parker Greene highlighted a three-run first inning.

That would be plenty for Timberwolves pitchers Luke O’Malley and Bryce Schneider, with the latter tossing three shutout innings with two strikeouts and no hits in relief.

Cedar Park has reached the regional quarterfinals for the third straight year.

“There’s some excitement about it,” said Farst, who is in his second year leading the program. “Anytime you get to the third round, you know you’re playing good baseball.”

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: UIL baseball playoffs: Westwood, Cedar Park roll into regional quarterfinals