The Thorndale Bulldogs (24-5) swept the 10th-ranked Charlotte Trojans last week, 6-0, 13-2, and faced the Shiner Comanches (22-6) in game one of a best-of-three series in the regional semi-finals last night.
The 'Dogs were down 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning when they began a scoring drive that tagged on four runs and the lead. It was headed up by a two-run double from Jeff Kiesling to the outfield.
Shiner put up two more runs in the top of the sixth on Bulldog errors to make it a 5-4 Comanche lead.
In the bottom of that same inning, Thorndale finally found their offense that has gotten them so far this season.
The Bulldogs tacked on five runs in their half of the sixth, going up 9-5 with three outs to go.
In the top of the seventh, Thorndale hurler Cirilo Reyes, who went six and two- thirds innings on the mound Wednesday night, struck out the first two Shiner batters while they were looking.
He walked the next two batters with full counts and put the tying run at the plate.
That hitter got a base hit, scored a run and left the Comanches with runners on second and third.
With the winning run at the plate, Reyes had two strikes and that batter hit a ball to second base that couldn't be handled. Another run scores for Shiner, making the game 9-7.
Thorndale Coach Scott Holder then brought in Victor Reyes to close out the game.
Reyes faced one batter, who he got to fly out to Kalen Revia in left field.
Game two will be Saturday at 4 p.m. at Smithville High School with game three to follow 30 minutes later if necessary.
"Shiner's strength is their pitching staff," Holder said.
"They are not going to make many mistakes, if any, on defense," Holder said.
Thorndale had six errors on defense Wednesday night.
Full statistics for the game will be in next week's issue of The Champion.
Thorndale's match-up with the Comanches is full of playoff rivalry.
On route to their 2004 state title, Shiner defeated Thorndale two games to one in the best-of-three regional final series.
In the Bulldogs' dance to the 2005 state title, they went through Shiner, two games to one, in the regional semi-finals.
In the Charlotte series last weekend, Bulldog hurler, Cirilo Reyes, (7-1) picked up the game one win. In five innings of action, he struck out 11, walked one, and allowed only a single hit.
Reliever Victor Reyes pitched the final two innings striking out five and walking three.
Colby Hilton lead the Bulldog bats with a 1-for-2 night with a single RBI, one run scored, and one walk.
Jeff Hinistroza was 1-for-3 in that game with a triple and one run scored.
The Bulldogs scored three times in the bottom of the first, once in the bottom of the second, and twice in the bottom of the third to get the win.
Josh Culp (7-1) pitched the game two win on Saturday with 10 strikeouts, one walk, three hits and only one earned run in four innings.
Hilton struck out one in the final frame of relief.
Austin Falke was 3-for-3 with five RBIs and two doubles. Miles Grisham was 2-for-3 with four RBIs, one walk, one stolen base, and three runs scored. And, Jeff Kiesling was 2-for-4 on the night with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Both teams scored once in the first, but Thorndale's bats slapped the Trojans for five in the top of the second.
Hinistroza and Cirilo Reyes both singled to left field to get on-base. Marcus Gest sacrificed a bunt to advance the base-runners to second and third and a Grisham single scored the runners.
Grisham stole second base and then scored on a Falke double. Kiesling reached base next on a short stop error and scored Falke and later scored, himself, on a passed ball.
The Bulldogs put up three more runs in the top of the third before Charlotte managed their second score in the bottom of the inning.
Thorndale scored four more in the fourth to answer and then shut out the Trojans in the bottom of the fifth to coerce the officials to utilize the 10-run, mercy rule to end the game after five with a final 13-2 score.
"I think that we found their vulnerable areas and took advantage of throughout the series," Holder said.
The winner of the Thorndale-Shiner semi-final match-up will face the winner of Fayetteville and D'Hanis for Region IV's state tournament invitation in Austin.
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