Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker had heard the reports and seen the scores, but he wasn't sure just how potent Thorndale's offense was until he saw it first hand.
"They're legitimate," Boedeker said. "They were losing 7-4 to D'Hanis and scored nine runs in one inning. They hit the ball. D'Hanis made a few errors, but for the most part, they hit the ball."
Shiner (19-8) hopes to become the first team to put a clamp on the Thorndale (25-4) offense when the teams meet in a best-of-three game Class 1A regional final series beginning today at 7:30 p.m. at Leroy Dreyer Field on the campus of Blinn College in Brenham.
Game 2 is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Weimar, and the teams will return to Leroy Dreyer Field for Game 3, if necessary, on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Bulldogs have scored 70 runs while winning six of their seven playoff games over Bosqueville, Flatonia and D'Hanis, a finalist at last year's state tournament. Thorndale has scored at least five runs in every playoff game and scored 11 runs in its lone playoff loss to Flatonia.
"Their solid one through nine in the lineup," Boedeker said. "They make good contact and put the ball in play. They put the pressure on your defense."
Shiner has virtually matched Thorndale's offensive output by scoring 40 runs in its four playoff wins over Charlotte, Ben Bolt and Burton.
But the Comanches hope to have the edge on the mound, where starters Garet Pustka and Scott Shimek have yielded five runs in postseason play.
"They may be good hitters but you still have to make them hit your pitch," said Boedeker, who pitched for Shiner's 1992 Class 2A state championship team and went on to pitch at Sam Houston State. "You still have hit your spots and challenge them. We know they're going to put the ball in play. We just have to play good defense behind our pitchers."
Neither team is a stranger to postseason play. The Bulldogs won the 1996 Class 1A state championship. Shiner won Class 2A state titles in 1981 and '92, and the Class 1A state championship in 2002.
"I think the experience definitely helps," Boedeker said. "It even helps the ones who have not been there because they are around the ones who have."
One experience Shiner hopes to repeat is playing on Wednesday, which it will do for the third time in the playoffs this season against Thorndale. The Class 1A state tournament begins next Wednesday at Disch-Falk Field in Austin.
"It's kind of what we're used to doing," Boedeker said. "But we're really not looking that far ahead. We just want to play as hard as we can and not worry about anything else."