Gonzales Cannon On-Line

Lady Comanches capture Class 1A softball title
Saturday, June 4, 2011
by Cedric Inglehart, Gonzales Cannon

Gonzales Cannon Article   |   Shiner Lady Comanche Softball   |   Return to Shiner Comanche Sports Home Page

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The Shiner Lady Comanches hoist the state championship trophy
The Shiner Lady Comanches celebrate their victory over Grapeland in the 2011 Class 1A State Softball Championship game in Austin.
Gonzales Cannon photos
AUSTIN - Ryah Michalecís double in the sixth inning plated Kristin Schacherl to score the gameís only run, giving Shiner a 1-0 win over Grapeland in the Class 1A Championship Game Saturday morning at the University of Texasí McCombs Field.

It was the Lady Comanchesí third Class 1A title in the last decade, with the other two coming in 2001 and 2008.

With one out in the top of the sixth, Schacherl lifted a shot that nearly sailed over the head of Grapelandís Jalesia Walker. The left fielder made a great adjustment on the ball, only to have it bounce off her glove and fall to the ground. Schacherl made it to second and went to third on a passed ball, before Michalec knocked the ball into center to bring in the score.

"I was struggling at the beginning with my hitting, but I had confidence in myself and I knew I could hit that ball really well," said Michalec in describing her game-winning hit. "I had been fouling it off a lot, but it was pitched right down the middle and I knew if I connected it would go."

Michalecís RBI proved to be all of the run support needed for Ashley Shimek, who handcuffed the Sandies and tossed a two-hitter. The senior, who was named the Tournament MVP, struck out five and finished the season with a perfect record of 24-0.

"Our last loss was March 16 and we made a switch at pitcher to make sure we could get back to where we wanted to be, which was the state tournament," said Shiner head coach Brandon Siegel. "We decided to go with Ashley and she stepped up and took charge."

"Itís a great accomplishment what she did. My coaches and I never wouldíve guessed that she would finish perfect. You couldnít ask anything more from a senior, stepping up to lead her team back to the state championship."

Shimek came out on the right end of a fantastic pitcherís duel with Grapelandís Summer Groholski, who struck out 10 and threw a three-hitter with no walks. Groholski cruised in the first four innings, where she faced only 14 batters, but eventually she began to wear down.

"Summerís a great athlete," Siegel said. "I could tell by the look on her face that she started to get a little bit tired late in the game just like Ashley did, but thatís when itís all about adrenaline and whoís going to dig down and compete. Ashley did a great job of that, we got a couple of timely hits and that was the difference in the ball game."

As if facing Shimek wasnít daunting enough, the Sandies (27-10) didnít help their cause by committing three errors in the field. Conversely the Lady Comanches (32-4) were flawless with their gloves, finishing the game with none.

"Our defense is unstoppable, weíre like a stone wall," Michalec said. "Throughout the whole year weíve been amazing on defense and having good defense wins games."

The game marked the end of the prep careers of Shimek, Holly Haas and Amber Ramirez. For Shimek and Haas, who were freshmen on Shinerís 2008 championship team, their careers came full circle.

"Iíve loved softball all of my life and to win a title playing with two of my best friends is incredible," said Shimek. "We had such an amazing year and had so much fun together, Iíve loved every moment of it."

The state title is all the more gratifying for the Lady Comanches because they played two months of the season without Coach Siegel, who missed the time due to the illness and eventual passing of his father.

"Weíre a team and we wanted to be there for Coach Siegel," Haas said. "On the first day of practice he told us that his dad wasnít doing well, but that we were going to stick together until the end and thatís exactly what we did. We won it for ourselves, our town and for Coach Siegelís dad."

Shiner advanced to the title game by thumping Lindsay 16-4 in five innings on Thursday. Haas went 4-for-4 with 5RBI to lead the Lady Comanches, who also got 2RBI each from Shimek, Schacherl and Julianna Rankin.

"It was a great game," said Siegel. "Any time you run-rule somebody in the state tournament, you know things went your way."

Shiner did most of their damage against Lindsayís Ranee Morrison, who pitched 3 2/3 innings of relief. Starter Taylor Atkins struggled mightily on the mound, where she was called for 10 illegal pitches and four balks in her 1 1/3 innings of play.

"It was kind of bittersweet for us to capitalize on her like that," Siegel said. "Sheís a great pitcher and it was tough to see her come this far and have so many of those pitches called on her. You never want to see something like that happen to a kid, but it did and it was to our advantage."

Shiner broke three of their own state tournament records in Thursdayís game. The 16 runs were the most scored by a 1A team since the Lady Comanches beat Bosqueville 11-1 in 2002 and the aggregate run total of 20 broke the mark they set in 2001 when they defeated Joaquin 10-4.

The Lady Comanches scored seven runs in the second inning, besting the mark of six also set by Shiner in 2001 against Joaquin.


Photo Gallery by Cedric Inglehart for the Gonzales Cannon
Click on any photo to enlarge, use arrow keys or mouse to advance to next photo:

The Shiner Lady Comanches celebrate their victory. The scoreboard tells the tale. Ashley Shimek with her state tournament Most Valuable Player award. The Shiner Lady Comanches celebrate their victory.
Jordan Pietsch applying a tag to Grapeland's Summer Groholski, who called safe by the official but got tagged seconds later after stepping off the bag. Kristin Schacherl scores the game's lone run on Ryah Michalec's RBI double Shiner pitcher Ashley Shimek threw a two-hit shutout in the state finals. Julianna Rankin sliding safely into home during Thursday's semifinal.

  Class 1A State Final

      Shiner 1, Grapeland 0

                                  R H E
        Shiner        000 001 0 - 1 3 0
        Grapeland     000 000 0 - 0 2 3

      Game Highlights:

        WP: Ashley Shimek (24-0); LP: Summer Groholski, 27-9.

        Shiner Highlights: Shimek 7 IP, 5 K; Kristin Schacherl, 1-for-2, RS;
          Ryah Michalec, 1-for-3, RBI; Holly Haas, 1-for-2.

        Official UIL Box Score
  
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