SHINER -- Sisters will be sisters. That’s why Shiner softball coach Brandon Siegel wasn’t too crazy about the idea of putting freshman Holly Haas at catcher this season with her older sister, Heather, the Lady Comanches’full-time pitcher.
"That was a big issue at the beginning of the season," Siegel said. "I was worried they wouldn’t get along."
But not only have the Haas sisters gotten along this season, they have developed a much closer bond as they have spent more time with one another trying to get Shiner (21-6) to the state tournament for the third straight year. The two and the rest of the Lady Comanches can punch their ticket for Austin today when they face Thorndale in a 7 p.m. Class 1A regional final contest at Brenham High School.
Shiner lost only one starter, catcher Maci Schaefer, from last season’s team that reached the state final. Holly Haas had never played catcher in her softball career, but it was obvious the Lady Comanches needed her to fill the position’s vacancy.
So the two sisters spent much of offseason playing pitch and catch. Holly had to work hard to learn how to handle Heather’s variety of pitches.
"I had to teach her some of the techniques of catching," Heather said. "We’d work out every weekend and two or three times a week after school."
And during the many hours of workouts, a strange thing happened.
"We became best friends,"Heather said. "Before, we fought a lot. Now, we have a good relationship on and off the field. She knows me up and down and I know her inside and out."
Holly had her reservations about being picked to fill the vacancy left by Schaefer, who was a four-year starter at Shiner.
"I was nervous at first, but I knew what I had to do," Holly said. "I had to get the job done. I had to step up."
"She’s done about as well as a freshman could do playing at a new position," Siegel said. "She still makes freshman mistakes. But for the most part, she’s stepped in very well for Maci."
Heather, a junior, has helped lead Shiner to the state tournament her first two seasons. Holly served as a team manager at both state tournaments, including last year’s when the Lady Comanches lost 4-1 in the championship game to Bosqueville. Raygan Feight’s grand slam off Heather in the seventh inning erased Shiner’s 1-0 lead and gave Bosqueville the title.
"That’s our motivation," Holly said of the emotional loss. "I’ve always thought about that."