The Shiner Lady Comanches came within one inning of winning it all last year. But a grand slam by Raygan Feight in the top of the sixth inning gave Bosqueville a 4-1 win over the Lady Comanches in the Class 1A final.
With only one starter gone from last year’s team, Shiner comes into this season with intentions of getting back to Austin and finishing the deal.
"Once again, our strength will be the fact that the team only has lost one player from last year’s state runner-up team," said Brandon Siegel, who has a 45-26-2 record as he enters his fourth season as Shiner’s coach. "As far as expectations, we are once again going to set our goal at making it back to the state tournament."
Eight juniors who have reached the state tournament the last two years return to the Lady Comanches’ starting lineup.
Pitcher-shortstop Heather Haas, the Pitcher of the Year on the 2007 Advocate All-Area Softball Team, returns along with first baseman Taylor Hajek, infielders Alyssa Strauss and Paige Michalec, third baseman Amber Shimek, and outfielders Lauren Michalec, Ieisha Flowers, and Morgan Ullmann.
Seniors Courtney Frank, Megan Cejka, Megan Novosad, and Karah Childers, and freshmen Holly Haas, Ashley Shimek, and Amber Ramirez will give the Lady Comanches quality depth.
Following are previews of other Class 1A teams in the Advocate area:
Flatonia Lady Bulldogs
The Lady Bulldogs shared the District 28-1A title with Shiner and return seven starters from last year’s 13-11-2 team.
Coach Rodney Stryk, who has compiled a 111-73-3 record in eight seasons at Flatonia, welcomes back three seniors -- pitcher-shortstop Katrina Mica (7-5, 2.06 ERA, .311 batting average, 15 RBIs), left fielder Kayla Dunk (.317, 15 runs, 10 RBIs), and center fielder Kayla Michalec (.298, 11 runs, 17 RBIs).
Also back are junior catcher Elizabeth Bruns (.247, 8 RBIs), junior right fielder Rachel Robbins (.288, 6 runs, 9 RBIs), sophomore pitcher-shortstop Kalli Mikulik (6-6-2, 2.13, .333, 16 runs, 15 RBIs), and sophomore designated player Cailin Mica (.268, 8 runs).
Junior Elizabeth Cherry is expected to take over the first-base duties.
"We should be very competitive this year, but with a tough non-district schedule, our record may not show how good we are," Stryk said. "Games against Poth, East Bernard, Sacred Heart, Schulenburg and Magnolia should get us ready for Shiner in district."
Louise Lady Hornets
The Lady Hornets will begin their first year of playing a varsity schedule. Louise has five starters back from last season’s team that competed against sub-varsity opponents.
Robert Workmon takes over the program after coaching the Taft baseball team to a 30-43-3 record over three seasons.
Two juniors -- outfielder Minerva Montez and third baseman-pitcher Amber Perez -- return as do three sophomores -- shortstop Sabrina Crume, second baseman Coral Gonzales, and outfielder Jecenia Guevara.
Woodsboro Lady Eagles
The Lady Eagles captured the District 31-1A title in their inaugural season in 2007. Seven starters are back from last year’s 17-8 team.
Senior shortstop Robin Petropoulos (.364) is back as are three juniors -- catcher Kaitlin McCool (.494, 32 runs, 18 RBIs, 22 SBs), third baseman Lacie Jochetz (.507, 30 runs, 16 RBIs, 3 HRs), and outfielder Valerie Balderamas (.387). Pitcher Megan Carter (17-8, 198 strikeouts, 2.67 ERA, .542, 18 RBIs), second baseman Chelsea Bluemel (.431, 15 RBIs), and first baseman-outfielder Cassie Blaschke (.320) started last season as freshmen.
Coach Jaime Cano expects senior outfielders Elizabeth Allen and Jaimie Cano, junior outfielder Claire Henderson, and sophomore outfielders Samantha Lopez, Meagan Niemann, and Sierra Dyche to all see playing time.
"This year our team expectations are to continue to get better and gain valuable playing experience," Cano said. "With seven returning starters from last year’s team, I can say we have a legitimate nucleus to build around and valuable experience from last year’s inaugural season."