BRENHAM - A berth in the state tournament is one step further away for the Thorndale Bulldogs as they fell 6-5 to Shiner in game one of the Regional IV Final series Wednesday.
BULLDOGS LOSE SERIES OPENER: Thorndale lost game one of its Region IV Final series to Shiner Wednesday, 6-5. Game two is tonight in Weimar with game three, if necessary, set for Saturday in Brenham. Jeffrey Kiesling, foreground, fires a pitch while first baseman Ryan Lindemann plays defense. Taylor Daily Press photo
The series moves to Weimar tonight for a 7:30 p.m. game. If a game three is necessary, it will be played Saturday at 4 p.m. back at Blinn College.
An outstanding pitching performance by Comanche starting pitcher Garet Pustka and a controversial call in the bottom of the fourth inning were key factors in Thorndale's loss.
Bulldog batters struggled from the beginning as Putska allowed only five hits while striking out six, but errors and timely hits helped Thorndale keep the game close throughout.
"We had our chances. It wasn't the umps that killed us, we just made too many mistakes," said Thorndale Coach Gary Jack.
Thorndale left five runners aboard in the final three innings.
A 5-all tie was broken in the bottom of the fourth inning after Commanche runner Chris Baer at third base apparently failed to tag after an outstanding catch by Thorndale centerfielder Chris Gerren. Confusion began as the home plate umpire called the runner safe at home.
Thorndale coaches appealed the call, the runner was called out, and the players returned to the dugout. Nearly two minutes later, as the players were preparing for the next inning, the call was again overturned and Shiner took a 6-5 lead.
The Bulldogs jumped out early as pitcher Jeffrey Kiesling doubled home Gerren and Miles Grisham for a 2-0 first-inning lead.
The Comanches cut the lead in half in the bottom of the first as a solo homerun from Russell Boothe made the score 2-1.
Shiner tied the game at two in the bottom of the third inning after a throwing error on an attempted steal allowed Comanche runner Chris Baer to advance and then score on a sacrifice fly.
The Bulldogs broke the tie in the top of the fourth inning as a walk to Ross Towery plus singles from Kiesling and Ryan Lindemann loaded the bases for Grisham. Grisham delivered a two out bases clearing double that gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead.
The game seemed to slip away from the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth as a throwing error from third baseman Wade Gilchrist allowed the first Comanche runner on base. Ryan Kloesel later delivered a two-RBI double to cut the Thorndale lead to 5-4,
Pustka tied the game with an RBI fielder's choice. Shiner took a 6-5 lead after the questionable call, but was unable to add any more runs in the inning.
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