SHINER - Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker has taken a philosophical approach to his team's Class 1A regional semifinal playoff against Burton.
The Comanches (18-8) had hoped to play a best-of-three series against the Panthers (13-11), but lost a coin flip and will play a single game on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in Weimar.
"It all comes down to one game anyway," said Boedeker, referring to the state tournament, which Shiner is attempting to reach for the fourth time.
The Comanches won Class 2A state titles in 1981 and 1992, and captured the Class 1A state championship in 2002.
Seven members of this year's team played on the 2002 squad and Boedeker has reminded them of their 9-4 regional semifinal win over Burton in a game that was also played in Weimar.
Boedeker was an assistant coach under Steve Cerny on the 2002 team, went to Gonzales as an assistant last season, and returned to Shiner as the head baseball coach this season. Cerny has become Boedeker's assistant.
"It's set up kind of the same," said Boedeker, who said neither he nor Cerny remember whether Shiner lost a coin flip to Burton in 2002. "In a one-game playoff there's more pressure. We just have to stick with what we've been doing."
Shiner hasn't lacked for motivation this season, after failing to make the playoffs last season.
"It hurt me because we didn't have the chance to defend our title," said senior Brady Strauss. "But we didn't play well enough to make the playoffs."
The Comanches have handled adversity better this season, rebounding from a District 29-1A loss to Falls City to win 12 of their last 13 games, including playoff wins over Charlotte and Ben Bolt.
"We've been playing consistently in the three areas that are so important," Boedeker said. "We've been getting consistent pitching, playing consistently good defense and we've been consistent at the plate."
Shiner's biggest challenge against Burton will came at the plate against pitcher Bradley Chovanec, who has 22 strikeouts in 16 postseason innings. Shiner got a brief look at Chovanec in 2002, when he pitched in relief.
"The whole key against a good pitcher is to jump on him early," Boedeker said. "That can get you in a comfort zone and give you confidence throughout the lineup."
Boedeker believes non-district games where Shiner faced La Grange's Homer Bailey and Weimar's Kenn Kasparek have helped prepare the Comanches for postseason play.
"We've been playing a lot better, especially at the plate," Strauss said. "The key is to focus on his release point, set your hands and be quick with your hands."
The Comanches have seen how quickly postseason dreams can slip away and they don't want to let it happen again.
"There is definitely a hunger there for them," Boedeker said. "They've come this far and they want to finish on a strong note."
NOTES: The Shiner-Burton winner will advance to the regional final against either D'Hanis or Thorndale...D'Hanis and Thorndale play a best-of-three game series Wednesday and Saturday at New Braunfels High...Burton was the runner-up to Flatonia in District 28-1A.