AUSTIN -- Heading into Saturday’s Class 1A state title game, Shiner and Grapeland had combined for 24 runs in their respective semifinal wins Thursday.
While big run totals are nice, sometimes one is enough.
It was for Shiner on Saturday at here at McCombs Field, as the Lady Comanches squeaked out one run in what was otherwise a pitchers duel against Grapeland.
Shiner plated a single run on two doubles in the top of the sixth inning, giving their hurler Ashley Shimek all the cushion she’d need to clinch up the state title, as the Lady Comanches defeated Grapeland, 1-0, to win the Class 1A state title.
"Just to get that one run, kind of relaxed the girls a little bit," Shiner coach Brandon Siegel said. "That one run, it took a little bit more pressure off of them."
The win wrapped up a perfect season from Shimek, who went 24-0 on the year inside the circle.
Not bad for player that started the year playing shortstop and occasionally pitched.
"This was a last minute thing, where I had to step up and be the pitcher," she said. "(This is) unbelievable. I never thought I’d actually be here."
Grapeland’s Summer Groholski was just as solid for the Sandiettes, save for the sixth inning.
Kristin Schacherl hit a one-out double off the glove of Grapeland left fielder Kalee Walker then scored on a double in the next at-bat by Ryah Michalec that hit off the base of the left field wall.
It was only one run, but it proved to be the only run Shiner needed.
"We’re such a dominant offense and I just expected us to have more hits, but it paid off," said Shimek, who was named the championship game’s Most Valuable Player.
Grapeland coach K.L. Groholski said he also knew that the one run might be enough, despite his faith in his offense.
"With the way the pitchers duel was going, it was in the back of your mind," he said. "I can’t say enough about our kids. I expected us to come out in the seventh inning and get that run back, the way we have before."
Summer Groholski held the Shiner offense—which scored a Class 1A state tournament-record 16 runs in its Thursday semifinal win—to the one run and only three hits.
The University of Houston-commit struck out 10 in a dominant performance to end her high school career.
"We hadn’t seen anybody like her all year," Shimek said. "She gave us a really hard time."
After the game, the coach turned into a father as the two engaged in a long embrace by the Grapeland dugout.
"She went out there and did a fantastic job," Groholski said of his daughter and pitcher. "She stayed within herself and did a great job with location and doing things with her pitches.
"I told her that I was just glad that I was able to be part of her last game."
After playing a relatively clean game in the field on Thursday, the Sandiettes committed three errors, something K.L. Groholski stressed the Sandiettes had to avoid here at state.
None of the errors led directly to runs, but did force Summer Groholski and the Sandiette defense to stay on the field in three different innings.
"Miscues happen, but when you get three of the up there on the board, they’re hard to overcome," K.L. Groholski said. "They got the scratch that counted off of it (and) they made it happen, they shut us down."
The at-times potent offense for the Sandiettes could never quite figure out Shimek in the game, managing only two hits and only putting two runners into scoring position.
Grapeland’s best chance at getting runs on the board came in the third, when Sydney Gayle got hit by a pitch with one out, then moved to second on a Jalesia Walker sacrifice bunt.
Jayde Westbrook followed that with a bunt single of her own, and she then moved to second when no one was covering the bag, sliding just under the tag of Shiner centerfielder Stacey Perez, who ran up to cover.
With runners on second and third and two outs, Jalla Johnson hit the ball hard, but right at Shiner left fielder Megan Chumchal to end the threat.
From there, Grapeland had only one batter reach base, when Groholski led off the fourth with a single.
Shiner hasn’t lost since March 16 when they fell to Ganado, 3-1.
At that time, Siegel made the move to feature Shimek in the circle and the senior never looked back.
"You couldn’t ask anything more from a senior, stepping up and leading her team back to the state championship," he said.
The win was Shiner’s fourth state championship. The team last won in 2008. The Lady Comanches four state crowns are the most of any team in any classification in the state.
Grapeland ends the year with a 27-10 record, and will bring all but two players back from this year’s squad.
Groholski and her battery-mate, Kaycee Gayle, both graduated, but the rest of the state runner-ups should be back for 2012.