SEGUIN - Pitcher Cece Darilek and the Shiner Lady Comanches hurried up and waited in Saturday's Class 2A Region IV final.
Shiner’s Kassidy Bishop celebrates with Madison Jalufka after scoring a homerun against Weimar on Saturday at Morck Softball Field at TLU in Seguin. The team won 6-5.
[ NOTE: click on photo to enlarge ]
photos by Richard Hoang, Victoria Advocate
Darilek was perfect through the first three innings before enduring Weimar's midgame surge, a two-hour rain delay and a nerve-racking seventh inning in Shiner's 6-5 regional final victory.
After back-to-back regional final defeats at the hands of Weimar, Shiner finally landed on the winning side to clinch a trip to the state tournament. Shiner swept Weimar 2-0 in the best-of- three series, including an 8-6 win Thursday night.
"It's been a long three years," said Darilek, a junior pitcher who played for the last two Shiner teams that fell to Weimar.
Darilek pitched seven innings, allowed four runs and six hits and struck out three batters.
Freshman Bethany Nevlud led the Shiner offense with a 3-for-4, 3 RBI night, Kassidy Bishop smashed a solo home run and Darilek, Tamara Hajek and Lauren Schuette each had two-hit games.
"I've talked with my friends since elementary school, that going to state was such a dream for us, and we're actually here," Nevlud said. "It's just so surreal."
Shiner held a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning when Weimar's Makayla Kunz hit a two-out fly ball to right field. A miscommunication led to an outfield collision that allowed Kunz to reach safely and Kamie Klesel to score, cutting the Lady Comanches' lead to 6-5. Darilek recomposed herself and got the final batter to groundout.
"Deal with what you can deal with, and only control what you can control," Darilek said as she described her approach throughout the game.
Shiner led 5-0 after the top of the fourth inning. The Lady Comanches weren't able to cruise to victory, however.
"I thought early we had it, but at the end it was slowly shifting their way," head coach Steven Cerny said.
Darilek lost her perfect game in the bottom of the fourth inning on Shelby Vacek's infield single. Vacek later scored on a Kunz sacrifice fly, and Weimar cut Shiner's lead to 5-1. Darilek escaped the inning without further damage by coaxing a two-out, bases-loaded flyout.
Bishop bumped Shiner's lead back to 6-1 with her solo home run in the top of the fifth, but Weimar's Casey Menis scored in the bottom of the inning. Again Weimar had the bases loaded, and again Shiner minimized the damage, this time with a two-out lineout.
Shiner’s Cece Darilek makes a pitch against Weimar on Saturday at Morck Softball Field at TLU in Seguin.
[ NOTE: click on photo to enlarge ]
"Man, we got out of some big jams," Cerny said. "I just give credit to Cece there in the circle and everybody keeping their composure."
Both teams' composure was further tested by a two hour and 20 minute lightning delay between the fifth and sixth innings.
Weimar's Darrian Smith blasted a two-out home run to left center in the bottom of the sixth to slim Shiner's lead to 6-4.
"We were able to hold on and get that last out," Cerny said. "The score is 6-5; that's all that counts."
Shiner took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Nevlud's RBI-single to left field plated Tamara Hajek, and Darilek scored on Bishop's RBI-groundout.
Hannah Nevlud doubled to lead off the third and later scored on Bethany Nevlud's RBI-single for a 3-0 Shiner lead.
Darilek's RBI-double in the fourth pushed Shiner's lead to 4-0. Bethany Nevlud followed by tallying her third RBI of the game, a single that scored Darilek from second base and gave Shiner a 5-0 advantage.
The freshman Nevlud entered Saturday's game with just as much desire as her older teammates. She too was in the dugout during the 2013 and 2014 region finals.
"I've actually been a manager the past two years, and I've seen every stat in the book," Bethany Nevlud said. "To be able to actually play on the field and want to kick their butt, it's good."