The importance of making good pitches did not escape Shiner in its 6-5 Class 1A regional final win over Thorndale on Wednesday night at Leroy Dreyer Field on the Blinn College campus in Brenham.
It seemed every time Shiner starter Garet Pustka missed a spot or got the ball over the heart of the plate, the Bulldogs made him pay.
"You've got to hit your spots," Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker said. "Anytime we got the ball over the plate, they took advantage. You have to work the corners of the plate."
Pustka was able to work around seven hits and six walks and help Shiner (20-8) win the first game of the best-of-three series.
The Comanches (20-8) will go for the clincher and a berth in the state tournament in Game 2 today at 7:30 p.m. at Strickland Field at Veterans Memorial Park in Weimar. The teams will return to Leroy Dreyer Field in Brenham, if necessary, for Game 3 on Saturday at 4 p.m.
"We knew Thorndale (25-5) would be a big challenge," Boedeker said. "We've got our focus on this game. Thorndale's been down before and they've come back. We know how tough the first game was and we know it's not over."
Shiner's defense got a boost from Pustka's eight strikeouts, but committed three errors and made a few other mistakes that put its pitcher in some precarious positions.
"They put the ball in play and they put a lot of stress on your defense," Boedeker said. "You not only have to make the routine plays, you also have to make the great plays."
Shiner had seven hits against two Thorndale pitchers. But the Comanches made 10 outs in the air and Boedeker would like to see them be more selective at the plate.
"At first, we were a little anxious at the plate. We didn't work their pitcher early," Boedeker said. "We need to be a little more patient and find our pitch to hit. We've done a good job of that since the playoffs started, we just seemed to get away from it a little bit last night."
Scott Shimek is expected to be the starting pitcher for Shiner, which will be making its fifth appearance this season at Strickland Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Comanches defeated Weimar and lost to La Grange and Hallettsville in the Weimar Tournament, and won a regional semifinal playoff game over Burton.
"We've hit the ball well there for the most part," Boedeker said. "It does help your confidence going to a place you know you've had some success."