After having to come from behind to win Game 1 and almost doing it again in Game 2, the
Shiner Comanches hit early in the deciding game of a 3-game series against the Thorndale
Bulldogs last Saturday at Strickland Field in Weimar.
Comanches who are making the trip to Austin for the Class 1A state baseball
tournament are, left to right, front row, Ryan Lawrence, Marcus Lopez, Chase
O'Connor, Ky Pohler, D.J. Pustka, seated, A.J. Perez, Chris Baer and Matthew
Hibbs; back row, Coach Daniel Boedeker, Ryan Kloesel, Jared Boedeker, Dustin
Mayberry, Colten Henley, Russell Boothe, Dylan Hagens, Scott Shimek, Brady
Strauss, Garet Pustka, John Mraz and Coach Steven Cerny.
all photos by Shiner Gazette
The Comanches scored two runs in the second and led 4-0 at one point before finally
winning the game, 5-3.
Shiner won the first game of the series, played at Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, 6-5
after coming back from a 5-2 deficit.
The second game was played at Strickland Field in Weimar on Friday where the Comanches
again fell behind 7-1 before coming back late in the game, only to lose 8-7.
The third game was to be played back in Brenham but heavy rains on Friday night forced
the game back to Weimar.
The win sends the Comanches (21-9) to the state tournament this Wednesday in Austin.
"It was a good series overall," said Shiner coach, Daniel Boedeker. Thorndale was a good
challenge and we stepped up to it. Close games like this will help us in the state
"Our kids played hard and that comeback win on Wednesday proved it. They almost overcame
an 8-2 deficit in Game 2 but didn't quite make it.
"I keep reminding them it isn't over until it's over. Saturday's game was a big game and
we made some really big plays to win. I'm really proud of the kids," he added.
Garet Pustka took command on the mound on Saturday and despite the heat stayed cool and
collected till the final out.
"I pitched on Wednesday and knew I couldn't throw very hard so I just relaxed and threw
what I had and tried to find my spots.
"The heat didn't really bother me as much as it seemed to bother their pitcher," he
added. Pustka finished the day giving up six hits, struck out five, walked three and hit
The Shiner defense backed Pustka with three double plays, including a game-ending double
play by third baseman Russell Boothe.
"That was a big play, a really heads up play by Russell," said Coach Boedeker. "There was
no hesitation, he knew what to do and he did it."
"You can't ask for more from our defense than what they did today," said Pustka. "The
defense has played great in all these playoff games."
The Shiner offense, meanwhile, banged out eight hits and took advantage of some wild
pitches by Thorndale's Wade Gilchrist to score runs.
Shiner took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on only two hits. Scott Shimek opened with a
single and went to second on Brady Strauss' bunt. After Jared Boedeker struck out, Dylan
Hagens ripped a single scoring Shimek.
Jared Boedeker throws to first to get the batter after forcing Chris
Gerren at second for Shiner's second double play of the game.
Chase O'Connor followed with an infield hit moving Hagens to second. Ryan Kloesel then a
hit a grounder to the third baseman who missed the tag on Hagens loading the bases.
Hagens scored on a wild pitch before the side was retired.
The Bulldogs threatened in the fourth inning but the Comanches came up with a 1-4-3
double play to get the first two outs. But the inning wasn't over.
Valente Reyes walked and Jeff Kiesling was hit by a pitch. Wade Gilchrist hit a grounder
to shortstop Ryan Kloesel who couldn't make the throw and Thorndale had the bases loaded.
Pustka then got the third out on a grounder to first to end the inning.
Kloesel opened the fourth with a walk and stole second on a wild pitch. He went to third
on a strikeout by Pustka and the throw to first and then scored on a wild pitch to give
Shiner a 3-0 lead.
The Comanches tacked on another run in the sixth to make it a 4-0 game. Hagens, who
reached base four times in the game, walked, went to third on O'Connor's single and
scored on a passed ball.
The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the sixth when Chris Gerron and Easton Faike
reached on singles. Valente Reyes followed with a 3-run home run over the right field
fence to cut the margin to 4-3.
Pustka then fanned the next batter and O'Connor made two excellent catches in right to
end the inning.
Pustka added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. After dropping a single to short
right, he went all the way to third on a wild pitch and scored Shimek's single.
After making this catch in right center, Chris Baer fired to first to
double off the runner in first inning action in the third-game win
"I saw the ball go past the catcher and as he was fumbling for it. I saw Coach Boedeker
waving me on so I just kept going to third," said Pustka.
The Bulldogs fought back in the bottom of the seventh, putting runners on first and
second with one out. Chris Gerron hit a grounder to Boothe at third. Boothe fielded the
ball, stepped on third for the force and turned and fired to first for the double play
ending the game.
When asked about the play, assistant coach Steve Cerny said, "I knew there was a chance
Russell could do it. He has a good arm and he had a great reaction fielding the ball,
stepping on the bag and firing to first. It was a great game-ending play."
Cerny also had praise for Pustka and Strauss. "Garet had a good curve, he didn't over
exert and he pitched a smart game. And Brady caught a great game all the way. You could
tell he was in good physical shape, lasting through the heat and all."
"It was pretty hard in the heat and I'm still a little tired," said Brady on Monday.
"We had a lot of good plays in the game," continued Cerny. "Baer's catch and doubling off
the runner in the first inning, O'Connor's great catches and the double plays, it was a
great defensive effort."
As for the trip to the state tournament, Boedeker said the kids were all excited. "And
yea, I'm excited as well, but I give all the credit to these kids. I thank them for
giving me the opportunity to go to state."
Coach Cerny said it's just as exciting as the 2002 state trip when the Comanches won the
"It's just as exciting but never the same. You have different players, different teams,
different situations so the excitement is always new," he said.
Shiner will play Maud in the semi-final at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at Disch-Falk Field in
Austin. The other semi-final has Pineland West Sabine playing Follett.
The championship game is set for 11 a.m. on Thursday at Disch-Falk Field.
GAME THREE SUMMARY
Shiner 0 2 0 0 1 1 1 -- 5
Thorndale 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 -- 3
Class 1A regional final, Game 3
Garet Pustka and Brady Strauss. Wade Gilchrist, Easton Faulke (7) and Kevin
Zuehlk, Colby Hilton (7). WP: Pustka (12-4). LP: Gilchrist (6-1). Highlights:
(S) Scott Shimek 2-for-3, RBI, run; Chase O'Conner 2-for-4; Dylan Hagens 1-
for-1, RBI, 2 runs, reached base four times; (T) Valente Reyes 1-for-2, 3-run
HR; Chris Gerren 2-for-3, run. Records: Shiner 21-9, Thorndale 26-6.