WEIMAR - The good news for Shiner was it scored six runs in the last two innings. The bad news was it wasn't enough.
The Comanches couldn't overcome a slow start and dropped an 8-7 decision to Thorndale in Game 2 of the best-of-three Class 3A regional final series on Friday night at Strickland Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Bulldogs improved to 26-5 on the season while squaring the series at a game apiece. The teams will return to Leroy Dreyer Field on the campus of Blinn College in Brenham today at 4 p.m. for the decisive Game 3, with the winner claiming a berth in the state tournament. [NOTE: Game 3 was moved to Weimar due to rain on Saturday morning! sb]
Shiner (20-9) took a 6-5 win in Game 1 at Dreyer Field on Wednesday night.
The Comanches scored a run in the top of the first on Friday, but failed to get another hit against Thorndale starter Kevin Zuehlke until the fifth inning. By that time, they trailed 7-1.
"He mixed it up and he was hitting his spots on the outside of the plate," Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker said of Zuehlke, who baffled the Shiner hitters with a slow-breaking curveball. "He did a good job of mixing up his pitches and changing speeds."
Thorndale took advantage of some early wildness by Shiner starter Scott Shimek to score five runs in the first two innings. The Bulldogs also continued their pattern of Game 1 and scored all their runs with two outs.
"Scott just needed to go out and throw," Boedeker said of Shimek, who threw 63 of his 124 pitches in the first two innings. "Once he settled down and started to compete, he did a good job."
Thorndale had four of its seven hits in the first two innings, including a two-run single by Wade Gilchrist in the first and a two-run double by Easton Falke and an RBI double by Valente Reyes in the second.
Reyes added a double in the fourth to bring home a pair of unearned runs, and Falke's second double scored what proved to be the decisive run in the sixth.
"I thought we were ready to play, but they were able to jump on us," Boedeker said. "I think that had some effect. They had a lot of clutch hits, and they made some good defensive plays."
Shiner scored in the first when Garet Pustka and Russell Boothe pulled off a delayed double steal of home and second base.
But the Comanches' next run didn't come until the sixth on RBI singles by Brady Strauss and Jared Boedeker.
Shiner scored four times in the seventh and got the tying run on first base against reliever Vicente Reyes. Ryan Kloesel started the inning with a triple and scored on Chris Baer's double. Baer scored on a single by Shimek and Strauss brought the Comanches to within a run when he blasted a two-run homer over the left-field fence.
Reyes hit Boedeker with a full-count pitch, but got Dylan Hagens to ground back to the mound to end the game.
"We've been in this situation before," Daniel Boedeker said. "We've just got to take the momentum we had at the end of the game into Game 3."
Game Summary: Score F Shiner 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 -- 7 Thorndale 2 3 0 2 0 1 0 -- 8 Highlights: Class 1A regional final, Game 2 Scott Shimek and Brady Strauss; Kevin Zuehlke, Valente Reyes (6) and Colby Hilton, Zuehlke (6). WP: Zuehlke (4-0). LP: Shimek (7-4). Highlights: (S) Strauss 2-for-4, 2-run HR, 3 RBIs, 2 runs; Shimek 2-for-4, 2B, RBI; Jared Boedeker 1-for-3, RBI; Ryan Kloesel 1-for-3, 3B, run; (T) Easton Falke 2-for-4, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs, 2 runs; Reyes 2-for-4, 2 2Bs, 3 RBIs. Records: Shiner 20-9, Thorndale 26-5. NOTE: Game 3 will be played at Blinn College in Brenham on Saturday at 4:00pm. (Actually, the game was moved back to Weimar due to rain.)