The last time Chris Baer competed for the Shiner Comanches, he was named most valuable player of the Class A championship game at the state baseball tournament in early June. It was the second time in three years he helped the Comanches win the state title -- and baseball is not even his main sport.
Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas and Rice have shown interest in Shiner running back/linebacker Chris Baer. Kerri Besio, Victoria Advocate
All-district on both offense and defense since his freshman year, Baer (6-foot, 200 pounds) eyes another successful season after the Comanches' near-miss in the Class A state final.
Shiner, which finished 14-2 last year, ended the season with a 28-27 loss to Windthorst. The Comanches missed an extra-point kick with :32 seconds left.
Baer finished the season with 1,658 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns, and made 122 tackles as a middle linebacker.
Falls City coach Mark Kirchhoff saw Baer for eight quarters last year. The Beavers blanked Shiner 7-0 for the district championship before the Comanches handed them their only loss, 16-14, in the state quarterfinals.
"Chris is a great competitor," Kirchhoff said. "He is a good all-around player on both sides of the ball. Defensively he goes sideline to sideline and always seems to come up with the big play. Offensively, we have to focus on him as the player to stop. He is so diversified because he not only runs between the tackles so well, but is dangerous on pitch sweeps and even throwing a pass off the pitch."
Recruiters also have taken notice, Comanches coach Steve Cerny said. "(He) has a good shot at (a Division I-A scholarship)," Cerny said, noting that Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas and Rice have shown interest.
Baer is second academically in the Shiner senior class (96.97 grade-point average), likes to restore old cars and is shooting for a football scholarship.
"I want to go into mechanical engineering, and Rice is a good school for that," Baer said.
Baer has spent the summer concentrating on conditioning rather than playing baseball.
He played for football teams that advanced to the third round of the playoffs in both his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Last year, Baer highlighted Shiner's playoff run with 252 yards rushing in the Comanches' 47-39 victory over Chilton in the state semifinals.
If Shiner makes the second round of the playoffs again, Baer will play in his 50th high school game that day (he missed the 2002 playoffs with a broken finger).
"We gained a lot of experience by going to the state (championship)," Baer said. It's experience that will be needed as Shiner competes for the District 31-A title.
[ WEB NOTE: To view the Express-News' coaches poll and preview of District 31-A, CLICK HERE. ]
The Comanches lost about half their starters to graduation, but Baer said Shiner will have a talented line and some standout underclassmen to build on this season.
An all-district center fielder, he hit .406 for the Comanches last spring, and in the 13-3 state title victory over Follett, Baer went 3 for 4 and drove in four runs. For the tournament he was 5 for 8, including a double and triple.
Earlier last spring, he went to the second round of track and field eliminations (area meet) in the high jump, and also was an all-district basketball player his first two seasons. He did not play last season.
John Hines is a staff writer for the San Antonio Express-News.
Contact him by e-mail at email@example.com.