With a 6-0 win over Thorndale, the Shiner Lady Comanches secured a spot in the Class 1A State Softball Tournament this weekend at Austin.
2008 Lady Comanches are, left to right, front row, Courtney Frank, Lauren Michalec, Alyssa Strauss, Amy McCorkle, Lauren Haynes, Brittany Roller, Taylor Hajek, Paige Michalec and Amber Shimek; back row, Ashley Shimek, Ieisha Flowers, Holly Haas, Heather Haas, Megan Novosad, Amber Ramirez, Karah Childers, Morgan Ullmand and Megan Cejka. photo by Janette Berkovsky, Shiner ISD
This will be the third consecutive year that Shiner will be attempting to bring back the state championship trophy. Last year Bosqueville snatched the prize from Shiner in the sixth inning with a grand slam. The year before, Clyde Eula beat the Lady Comanches in the state semi-final.
Brandon Siegel took over Shiner's softball program four years ago and his first year was a re-building year, trying to put together a competitive team. Three trips to the state tournament is proof of his efforts and success. Hopes are high again this year to bring home the trophy.
Shiner (22-6) will face Maud (25-10) at 11 a.m. this Thursday, May 29, in their semi-final game at McCombs Field on the campus of the University of Texas.
Bosqueville (24-7) and Clyde Eula (22-11) will play the other semi-final game on Thursday. If the Lady Comanches win their game, they will face the winner at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday in the state championship game.
Coach Siegel said Shiner will be the home team on Thursday. "It's been kind of hectic this week with the holiday and trying to get everything in place," he said. "But we have had real good workouts Monday and Tuesday and are ready to go."
In the regional final against Thorndale, Siegel had to wait an agonizing four innings before the Lady Comanches gave him some assurance that they would make it to the state tournament.
Leading by only one run, the Lady Comanches took advantage of some Lady Bulldog mistakes and timely hitting to score two runs. More relief came to Siegel in the sixth when the girls gave him three more runs for a final 6-0 win.
Shiner took a 1-0 lead in the first inning but failed to take command of the game as three runners were left stranded. Alyssa Strauss opened the inning with a walk, stole second and third and scored on an error on a Heather Haas infield grounder. Taylor Hajek had walked earlier and Amber Shimek singled to load the bases with just one out.
But Thorndale's Angel Bigan got the next two batters to fly out to the outfield to end the inning.
The Lady Comanches went down, 1-2-3, in the next inning and again stranded runners in the third and fourth innings.
Finally, in the fifth inning, Shiner got the break it needed. With two outs, Taylor Hajek singled to left and advanced to second on an error on the play. Heather Haas followed with a single to score Hajek and went to second on an error on her single. She then went to third on a passed ball and scored on Amber Shimek's single. Shiner now had a 3-0 cushion.
Paige Michalec opened the sixth with a walk and scored on Ieisha Flowers' triple. Flowers then scored on a passed ball. Holly Haas was safe on an error and ended up at second. Courtney Frank came in to run for Haas and scored on Strauss double to up the lead to 6-0.
Heather Haas, who scattered six hits, struck out seven, walked one and hit one batter, retired the first six batters before giving up a walk to Culp in the third inning. Culp advanced to second on a passed ball but got thrown out trying to steal third. Two easy outs followed.
The Lady Bulldogs biggest threat came in the fourth inning but good fielding and pitching came through for the Lady Comanches. Hajek got the first out unassisted and Haas struck out the next batter. Back-to-back singles by Hernandez and Goetz gave Thorndale new life but Haas came through with a strikeout to end the inning.
The Lady Bulldogs kept the pressure on with three hits in the fifth, but good infield defense and a strike out left two runners stranded.
Thorndale put two runners on in the final inning but again Shiner's defense stepped up, preserving the 6-0 win.
Hajek, Haas and Shimek each had two hits. Strauss had a double, Flowers a triple and Paige Michalec added a single. Haas had two RBIs, while Strauss, Shimek and Flowers had one each.
GAME SUMMARY Game of May 23, 2008 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 F Shiner 1 0 0 0 2 3 0 -- 6 Thorndale 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0 W: Heather Haas. L: Angel Bigan. Highlights: (S) Haas 5-hit shutout, seven strikeouts; Taylor Hajek 2-for-3, run; Amber Shimek 2-for-4, RBI. (T) Brealyn Hernandez 2-for-3. Records: Shiner 22-6, Thorndale 13-3. Note: Shiner advances to state tournament.