Amarillo Globe-News On-Line

Follett Falters
Shiner sinks Panthers in 1A finals, 13-3
Friday, June 11, 2004
Lance Lahnert, The Amarillo Globe-News

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Follett Players
No. 2, This Year: Follett's Justin Blau, left, Cody Freeman (holding trophy) and Jared Robertson watch as Shiner receives its championship trophy Friday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock. Shiner defeated Follett in the Class 1A championship game, 13-3.
photos by Steven Dearinger, Amarillo Globe-News
ROUND ROCK - Thirteen owns the reputation as an unlucky number. Unless that 13 represents hits and runs.

Follett's best baseball season in school history ended Friday with a 13-3 loss after five innings to heavy-hitting Shiner in the Class 1A state championship game at Dell Diamond.

Shiner (23-9), undisturbed by a 75-minute rain delay before the first pitch was thrown, laced on its hitting cleats this day and pounded out 13 hits, putting together a pair of smothering five-run innings before 856 fans.

"That's the best hitting team we have seen all year," said Follett coach Rob Buffa, his team playing in the school's first state baseball championship game. "They smacked it one to nine. We didn't find an easy out in the lineup."

Shiner's fourth state baseball title - the others came in 1981, 1992 and 2002 _ had been predicted by Comanche catcher Brad Strauss. After Shiner's semifinal win Thursday, Strauss said, "We will hammer Follett."

Strauss's prediction lit a fire under Follett senior starter Cody Freeman. But Freeman, pitching with a tender arm, didn't have the stuff that gave him to a 10-0 record entering the game.

Freeman lasted nine batters, leaving two hitters into the second inning. Shiner's biggest blow off Freeman was a two-run, line-drive homer to left field in the first inning by Russell Boothe.

"Like (Shiner) said yesterday, they were going to hit me," Freeman said. "I had it in my head, I wasn't going to let them. But they had their sticks on fire."

When Follett coach Rob Buffa pulled his senior righthander, the game was tied at three in the second inning and Shiner had runners at second and third.

"I had no choice at that time but to make the move at 3-3," Buffa said.

Buffa called on senior Jared Robertson, who was coming off a dazzling 74-pitch, one- hit, 1-0 semifinal win over Pineland West Sabine on Wednesday.

Freeman had given Robertson a hint to be prepared.

"I told Jared before the game started to be ready," Freeman said. "My arm has been bothering me a little the last three series. I told him it was his time to shine. He did all he could."
Follett's Shayne Dunnam
Close, But No Catch: Follett centerfielder Shayne Dunnam dives but doesn't come up with the catch in the first inning of Friday's Class 1A championship game against Shiner. An umpire ruled Dunnam trapped the ball.

By the time Robertson was able to end the second inning, Shiner had socked the wind out of Follett, building an 8-3 lead on its way to victory by the 10-run rule.

Shiner's Chris Baer, the game's most valuable player with three hits and four RBIs, greeted Robertson with a two-run double down the left-field line, putting Shiner ahead for good 5-3.

"It was a lot of waiting around," Baer said of the weather-plagued tournament. "But once we got the bats going, nothing was stopping us."

Robertson then hit Garet Pustka, allowed a single to Boothe and eventually a two-run single to Strauss.

Shiner tagged on five more runs in the fifth inning on the strength of two-run hits by Baer and Strauss for a 13-3 lead.

"I wanted to pitch, but I just wasn't loose," Robertson said of entering the the game in the second inning.

"I got a little better in-between innings. I just didn't have my A game. But they can swing the bats."

Follett did appear ready to match Shiner run-for-run early in the game.

The Panthers made Shiner pay for an infield error in the first inning, pushing across two runs on singles by Robertson and sophomore Tanner Woods.

Follett knotted the game 3-3 in the top of the second inning when Shayne Dunnam reached first on an error, then scored on Freeman's double.
"That's the best hitting team (Shiner) we have seen all year."

Follett baseball coach Rob Buffa

But the Panthers managed just four hits off Shiner starter Scott Shimek (8-4). The burly junior did walk three, but he struck out 10 and didn't allow Follett a runner in scoring position after the second inning.

"Shiner just had better hitting than we had pitching in this game," Buffa said.

Follett's season included the school's first state championship game appearance, the third regional championship and an 18-game winning streak.

"Hey, it's been a tremendous ride," Buffa said. "We battled to the end. We didn't quit. These five seniors have given me everything they had for four long years.

"We preach the will to win. Each senior has that will to win."

While Shiner took home the championship, Follett took home a state runner-up trophy.

"At least we got our town's name out there," Freeman said.

"We had a lot of fun," Robertson said.

"Most people don't even know where Follett is. Maybe they do now."


  Shiner                    Follett
             ab  r  h bi               ab r h bi

  Baer cf     4  1  3  4    Dunnam cf   3 1 0 0
  Pustka 1b   3  3  1  0    Gensman lf  3 0 0 0
  Boothe 3b   2  3  2  2    Freemn ss   2 1 1 1
  Shimek p    3  0  1  0    McClengn pr 0 0 0 0
  Perez pr    0  1  0  0    Robrtsn p   3 1 1 0
  Strauss c   3  0  2  4    Woods c     3 0 1 1
  Boedeker 2b 3  1  1  1    Blau 2b     2 0 1 0
  Hagens dh   3  1  1  0    Schultz 3b  1 0 0 0
  O'Connor rf 1  2  0  0    Foster rf   2 0 0 0
  Kloesel ss  3  1  2  1    Barnum 1b   2 0 0 0
  Lopez lf    0  0  0  0

  Totals     25 13 13 12    Totals     21 3 4 2

  Follett 210 000  --   3
  Shiner  350 05x  --  13

  E-Freeman 2, Boothe, Boedeker, Kloesel 2. DP-Follett 1.
  LOB-Follett 6, Shiner 4. 2B-Freeman, Baer, Boedeker,
  Kloesel. HR-Boothe (4). SB-Robertson.

                  IP  H  R ER BB SO
  Freemn L,10-1  1.0  5  5  5  1  0
  Robertson      3.0  8  8  7  1  2

                  IP  H  R ER BB SO
  Shimek W,8-4   5.0  4  3  0  3 10

  HBP - by Robertson (Pustka, Boothe). WP - Shimek.
  Umpires - Home: Coit. First: McBride. Second: Sharp.
  Third: McCord. T - 1:44. A - 856.

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