Shiner has played three playoff games at three different sites, but there has been one constant.
At every playoff game, Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker has looked into the stands and seen a scout from Thorndale.
"They've been to quite a few of our games," Boedeker said. "I think they kind of expected to be there and they expected us to be there. I think we both figured we'd have a chance to play each other again."
Shiner and Thorndale played a three-game Class 1A regional final series last season before Shiner won the series and went on to win the state championship.
Shiner (25-3) and Thorndale (27-4) will meet again in a best-of-three regional semifinal series that begins today at 7:30 p.m. at Leroy Dryer Field on the campus of Blinn College in Brenham.
Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Leroy Dryer Field and Game 3, if necessary, will follow Game 2.
The Shiner-Thorndale winner will advance to the regional final against the winner of the Brackett-Ben Bolt series.
Two of the three games between Shiner and Thorndale in last season's series were decided by one run. Shiner captured a 6-5 win in Game 1 and Thorndale claimed an 8-7 win in Game 2. The Comanches won the decisive game 5-3.
"They're still a good baseball team," Boedeker said of the Bulldogs, who lost two starters from last year's team. "They're very similar to last year's team. They can hit the ball from one to nine, they have good pitching, and they play good defense."
While Thorndale will be looking to reverse the outcome of last year's series, Shiner starting pitcher Scott Shimek will have a similar motive.
Shimek started Game 2 last season and surrendered five runs in the first two innings, before settling down to give the Comanches a chance to rally. Shimek comes into today's game with a 13-1 record and has recorded 158 strikeouts in 75 innings.
"I know Scott wants a little revenge," Boedeker said. "He knows he can do better than he did last year and he has another opportunity. I think he'll take advantage of it."
Boedeker is also looking for a solid defensive effort from his team.
"I think you have to make them earn their way on base," he said. "You have to make the plays. Your pitcher has to throw strikes and you have to make them earn their way on base."
Shiner has advanced to the regional semifinals with wins over Fayetteville and Benavides, while Thorndale has defeated Menard and D'Hanis.
"The way our bracket is it's hard to overlook anybody," Boedeker said. "You have to focus on what you have on hand and go with it."
Ryan Kloesel leads Shiner with a .381 average that includes four home runs and 32 RBIs. Shimek is hitting .380 with four home runs and 32 RBIs, and Chris Baer has a .354 average with a team-leading 15 stolen bases. ... Shiner will be the visitor in Game 1 and the home team in Game 2. ... Game 1 will be simulcast on KTXM, 99.9 FM and KYKM, 92.5 FM. ... Game 2 and Game 3, if necessary, will be broadcast on KTXM, 99.9 FM.