It wouldn't be entirely accurate to suggest Kyle Condel carried Shiner to the Class 1A regional finals with his left arm. Condel's right arm also played a significant role in the Comanches' success.
Shiner's Kyle Condel was named the Player of the Year on the 2007 Advocate All-Area Baseball team. contributed photo by Harry Reese
Condel has thrown a baseball left-handed and swung a bat right-handed his entire baseball career and he was a major contributor on the mound, at the plate and in the field in one of the best seasons in Shiner history. Condel's performance helped Shiner compile a 27-4 record and led to his selection as the Player of the Year on the Victoria Advocate's 2007 All-Area Baseball Team.
"The difference this year was the team chemistry," Condel said. "We were able to rely on each other."
The Comanches leaned heavily on Condel during his junior season. Condel factored in two-thirds of Shiner's wins as a pitcher, while also playing center field and leading the team in hits, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and stolen bases and sharing the team lead in runs scored.
"Kyle improved from the beginning of the season," Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker said. "He made a big move. He really learned how to pitch. He threw against good teams before district and learned how to hit his spots and change speeds. He threw all his pitches in the strike zone and that's what made him successful."
Condel was a workhorse for the Comanches, pitching 1091/3 innings and starting six of nine playoff games. He had a 16-2 record and two saves with a 1.38 ERA and 170 strikeouts.
"I was able to get my arm in shape with a lot of long tossing," Condel said. "Coach Boedeker kept me on a pretty consistent schedule. I worked on my legs a lot in the weight room and I did a lot of running so I'd have more endurance. I got stronger and I was able to do different thing with different pitches. The main thing was I tried to put myself in the batter's box. I'd think about what I'd be looking for as a hitter and attack that."
Condel did not have many weaknesses at the plate, as he hit .427 with three home runs, seven doubles and 28 RBIs. He also scored 36 runs and was successful on all 28 of his stolen base attempts.
"I worked hard on my hitting," Condel said. "I took a lot of extra cuts in the cage."
Shiner returned only three full-time starters but bounced back from a loss to Flatonia in its District 28-1A opener to finish the regular season at 21-1 while earning the No. 1 ranking in the Class 1A poll and leading to Boedeker's selection as Coach of the Year.
The Comanches defeated Normangee in the area playoffs, Bremond in the regional quarterfinals and Brackettville in the regional finals before losing by one run to Thorndale in the decisive game of their best-of-three regional final series.
"With so many new faces, I thought the kids did a remarkable job," said Boedeker, who was also named Coach of the Year when he led Shiner to the 2004 Class 1A state championship. "What was funny about this team is it always found a way to win. We would get down but we would never give up. We knew we would come back and make a run before the end of the game. There were several times we were in close ballgames and you could still see the fight in the kids."
Cuero's Tyler Arndt earned a spot on the varsity as a freshman and played a key role in the Gobblers' run to the Class 3A area playoffs. Arndt started in the outfield and hit .388 with three triples, four doubles and 41 RBIs, while scoring 36 runs and stealing 33 bases to be selected as the Newcomer of the Year.
Yoakum junior Covey Morrow was selected as the Pitcher of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to the District 29-3A championship and into the regional quarterfinals. Morrow had an 8-1 record, one save and a 0.91 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 69 innings.
Wharton senior Wade Mathis and Weimar senior Errol Jones shared Offensive Player of the Year honors. Mathis, who will attend Lamar University, hit .436 with eight home runs, one triple, seven doubles and 40 RBIs for the Tigers, who won the District 24-3A title. He scored 33 runs and had 13 stolen bases.
Jones hit .557 with five home runs, three triples, 17 doubles and 35 RBIs for the Wildcats, who won the District 28-2A championship. He scored 34 runs and stole 10 bases.
Memorial senior Mark Hudson was chosen as the Defensive Player of the Year. Hudson helped lead the Vipers to the District 27-5A championship and into the area playoffs by playing a flawless center field. Hudson had a 1.000 fielding percentage with 41 putouts and four assists.
The first-team pitching staff was led by East Bernard senior Paul Demny, who was drafted in the 15th round by the Atlanta Braves and has signed with Blinn College. Demny went 10-2 with a 1.28 ERA and had 122 strikeouts in 691/3 innings.
The first-team pitching staff also featured Memorial senior Jeremy Flores (7-3, 1.17 ERA, 59.2 IP, 73 SO), who pitched a no-hitter in the area playoffs against Smithson Valley, and Bay City senior Corey Cortez (5-4, 2 SV, 1.61 ERA, 61.2 IP, 56 SO).
The first-team catcher was Hallettsville senior Jared Barnes (.528, 6 HR, 1 3B, 10 2B, 28 RBIs, 36 R, 26 SB) and the first-team infield included Tidehaven senior Kirk Klicker (.562, 1 HR, 34 RBIs, 16 R, 16 SB) at first base, Memorial senior Jonathan Leos (.360, 6 2B, 9 RBIs, 33 R, 7 SB) at second base, Bay City junior Shaun Rutherford (.444, 1 HR, 14 2B, 28 RBIs, 23 R) at third base and Schulenburg senior Jason Cummins (.375, 6 HR, 3 3B, 3 2B, 18 RBIs, 31 R, 29 SB) at shortstop.
The first-team outfield included Cuero senior Kyle Noack (.404, 1 HR, 4 3B, 5 2B, 35 RBIs, 43 R, 41 SB), Wharton senior Joel Ansley (.372, 6 HR, 1 3B, 11 2B, 24 RBIs, 31 R, 19 SB), who has signed with Wharton County Junior College, and Boling junior Trevor Archer (.414, 2 HR, 1 3B, 4 2B, 23 RBIs, 21 R, 19 SB).
The first-team utility player was Cuero sophomore Jennings Boothe (7-1, 2 SV, 1.56 ERA, 54 IP, 49 SO & .473, 3 3B, 11 2B, 37 RBIs, 36 R, 34 SB) and the first- team designated hitter was Bloomington senior Sean Chapa (.424, 10 HR, 30 RBIs, 19 R).