“This whole season was just remarkable. No one thought we would be here, but we just trusted and played for each other. We made history and we're super proud. It’s an amazing feeling, this was a tough loss but we are proud of what we did.”
Cinco Ranch threw everything it had at Pearland.
It didn’t matter the circumstances, the frustration after an at bat or an inning. The Cougars were loud and uplifting, believing they could overcome whatever was in front of them.
In the end, Cinco Ranch came up just short of a regional final berth, falling to Pearland 1-0 in game two of the regional semifinals on Friday, after losing to Pearland 3-0 in the first game on Thursday.
But this wasn’t a losing team, and the Cougars walked off the field with their heads held high knowing what they accomplished this year.
“This whole season was just remarkable,” senior right fielder Charlie Atkinson said. “No one thought we would be here, but we just trusted and played for each other. We made history and we’re super proud. It’s an amazing feeling, this was a tough loss but we are proud of what we did.”
It was a heartbreaking loss for Cinco Ranch, which had chances but were unable to find runs on Friday.
The Cougars loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, but Pearland was able to get out of it with two strikeouts and a groundout. Cinco then loaded the bases with no outs again in the third inning. But Pearland found a way out of the jam again, getting a strikeout and a double play to end the inning. But even then, the Cougars heads didn’t go down.
“It was everything to coach these guys,” said Cinco Ranch head coach Brett Wallace. “When you have a group of kids who is willing to go out there and just work hard every single day from day one, you know it’s special. This team has been together for the past three years, they played for each other and knew how to step up for each other and think for each other. That’s what made them so special.”
Pearland got their only run of the game in the bottom of the third inning, a runner reached after a hit by pitch and then got to second on a failed pick-off attempt to first base. Pearland then got him to third with a sacrifice grounder before he came around to score on a passed ball.
The Cougars offense stalled from there until the seventh inning, when they again had a chance. Ethan Muniz was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, Karsten Kleiweg came in to pinch run and was able to steal second. Brock DeYoung then grounded out but got Kleiweg to third base with one out.
But the Cougars struck out and popped out to end their season.
“These last two nights just weren’t our night,” Wallace said. “But you have to tip your hat to Pearland, that’s a phenomenal team. I would argue were one of the best offenses in the state, so it tells you a lot about their pitching staff that they were able to do that.”
The Cougars will graduate 15 seniors from this years team that rewrote the Cinco Ranch record books, won their first district title since 2006 and went further than any Cinco Ranch baseball team in the playoffs.
“Last year we didn’t get to where we wanted to go so we made sure to do it this year,” Atkinson said. “We just knew that we had to be leaders and set an example. We played for each other and that’s what we hope to pass on. I think this year set a really good standard and now they can go build on that.”