BRENHAM - Shiner may be the defending Class 1A state champion, but it has no desire to go down swinging.
Shiner starting pitcher Scott Shimek delivers a pitch in Game 1 of their best-of-three regional semifinal series against Thorndale. Harry Reese, Special to the Advocate
Thorndale pitcher Wade Gilchrist had 15 strikeouts to lead the Bulldogs to a 3-2 win over the Comanches in Game 1 of the best-of-three regional semifinal series Wednesday night at Leroy Dryer Field.
Thorndale, which is trying to avenge last year's regional final series loss to Shiner, improved to 28-4 and will try to wrap up the series when the teams return to Leroy Dryer Field for Game 2 on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, will follow Game 2.
Shiner (25-4) hitters struck out at least once in every inning and ended the game with four strikeouts in the seventh inning. Scott Shimek was the only hitter in the Shiner lineup who did not strike out, and the bottom four hitters combined for 10 strikeouts.
"You've got to put the ball in play against good teams," Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker said. "Give their pitcher credit. He did a good job of changing speeds and he threw a lot of curveballs. But you've got to make the adjustments."
Shiner wasted an opportunity to take an early lead when it loaded the bases with no outs in the tip of the first inning and failed to score.
Chris Baer was hit by a pitch, Jared Boedeker singled, and Scott Shimek drew a walk. But Gilchrist struck out Ryan Kloesel and got Dylan Hagens to hit into a third-to- first double play.
"Give their third baseman credit," Boedeker said. "He made a heck of a play on Dylan's ball that kept them in the game."
The Comanches weren't so fortunate in the bottom of the first, as Thorndale scored two runs against Shimek with only one hit.
Shimek issued a lead off walk to Grisham, who stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by Chris Baer, before coming home on a passed ball.
Jeff Kiesling reached on an error by Boedeker at third base and went to third on a single by Ryan Lindemann. Courtesy runner Josh Culp broke for second and drew a throw from Baer, and Kiesling crossed the plate before Culp was tagged out in a rundown.
"Those are things you work on," Boedeker said of not throwing to the plate. "But when you get into a game situation, sometimes you get caught up in the moment."
Thorndale made it 3-0 in the third when Ross Towery singled, stole second and came home on a single by Kiesling.
The Bulldogs had seven hits off of Shimek and had a runner in scoring position in every inning.
The Comanches pulled within a run in the fourth when Shimek singled and courtesy runner A.J. Perez went to second on a wild pitch. Perez scored on a double into the left-center field gap by Hagens, who moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a balk.
But Shiner had only two baserunners after the fourth inning. Boedeker led off sixth with his second single and pinch runner A.J. Perez stole second with two outs. But Perez was stranded when Hagens struck out.
Chase O'Conner reached base in the seventh after swinging at a third strike in the dirt and stole second on a strikeout by Kyle Condel for the second out. But Gilchrist struck out Justin Joslin to end the game.
"I think we were trying too hard to make something happen," Boedeker said. "Our backs are up against the wall. I expect these guys to give it everything they've got on Saturday."
SCORE: F Shiner 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 -- 2 Thorndale 2 0 1 0 0 0 x -- 3 HIGHLIGHTS: Game 1 at Blinn College, Brenham Scott Shimek and Chris Baer. Wade Gilchrist and Colby Hilton. WP: Gilchrist (7-1). LP: Shimek (13-2). Highlights: (S) Jared Boedeker 2-for-3; Shimek 1-for-2; Dylan Hagens 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, run. Records: Shiner 25-4; Thorndale 28-4. Note: Thorndale leads series 1-0. Game 2, Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Blinn; Game 3, if necessary, to follow.