SAN ANTONIO -- Two outs. That is how close Ben Bolt was to suffering an embarrassing run-rule loss in the first game of its Class A regional semifinal matchup against Shiner on Thursday night at Alamo Heights High School.
Then, Ben Bolt's offense exploded and made it interesting before Shiner finally put a lid on the Badgers and held on for an 11-9 win in the series opener.
Trailing 10-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, the Badgers scraped across two runs on an RBI triple by Robert Guzman and a wild pitch that brought Guzman home, cutting the deficit to 10-2. Shiner came back with a single run in the sixth inning to increase the advantage to 11-2, where the score stood until the bottom of the seventh inning.
Frank Galvan, Gilbert Garcia and Lucas Lopez started the inning with consecutive base hits to pull Ben Bolt to within seven at 11-4. Relief pitcher Jacob Stafford then retired Andres Alaniz and Jon Lopez to put the Badgers on the brink again.
Sebi Palacios kept Ben Bolt alive with a walk and Nick Ramirez singled in the third run of the inning. That brought a call to the bullpen for Shiner's ace Ky Sandelovic, who Shiner intended to rest for his start Saturday in Game 2.
Sandelovic looked to have the game wrapped up when he induced Gabriel Ramirez to ground the ball off the end of the bat in front of the plate. But Sandelovic booted the grounder, keeping the inning alive again. Guzman followed with a two-run single to make it an 11-9 game. Galvan, the 10th batter of the inning walked to bring the winning run to the plate in the form of Garcia. However, Sandelovic finally ended the threat, getting Garcia to ground out to first.
As first baseman Matt Pohler spiked the ball into the ground after recording the final out, it was tough to tell who had won and who had lost. Shiner had pulled out the tough win, but had totaled just four hits in the game and nearly let a 10-run lead slip away. Ben Bolt, though not celebrating the loss, clearly had more of a spring in its step after coming so close to victory after a slow start.
Heading into Saturday's second game, the Badgers will look to use that momentum to make another tough comeback. The teams will meet at 4 p.m. Saturday at Alamo Heights, with a second game to follow if Ben Bolt can win the first game of the day.
Class 1A Regional Semifinal Game 1 Shiner 11, Ben Bolt 9 Shiner 123 401 0 - 11 4 4 Ben Bolt 000 021 6 - 9 8 5 Joey Gamez, Jacob Stafford (6), Ky Sandelovic (7) and Cuatro Rankin. Sebi Palacios, Robert Guzman (3) and Nick Ramirez. W: Gamez (10-3). L: Palacios. Highlights: (S) Gamez 3 for 4, Sandelovic 1 for 2, RBI. (BB) Guzman 2 for 5, 3B, 2 RBIs; Gilbert Garcia 2 for 5, 2 2B. Records: Shiner 26-7; Ben Bolt 24-11. Note: Shiner leads series 1-0.