BELTON — Two days after a gut-wrenching walk-off defeat, Temple responded in the resilient manner its second-year head coach Toby Rumfield predicted and promptly evened its Class 5A area-round series Saturday afternoon against Cedar Park with a 5-2 victory in Game 2 behind a clinical offensive and pitching display from Eli Mendoza.
The win set the stage for a deciding Game 3 at Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Red Murff Field, and 30 minutes after Temple finished what it needed to do to extend its season, Cedar Park’s ace in the hole stepped on the mound and made sure his team was the one that advanced.
Mak Sexton, who quarterbacked the Timberwolves to a 5A Division II state title in 2015, took a no-hitter into the fifth and picked up enough run support along the way for Cedar Park’s 2-0 victory that moved it to the Region III quarterfinals against Tomball.
“I’m proud of these guys. They fought. They came back and battled. I’ve always said from day one that they were tough kids,” Rumfield said of the Wildcats, whose season ended at 21-10 with a bi-district title — their second in the last three years. “I mean, we ran across a pitcher that was better than we were in that third game. When you go that fast through our lineup, you’re pretty good. That Sexton kid was a gamer.”