Shiner's Kailey Williams, Cece Darilek, Hannah Nevlud and Lauren Schuette react after the Lady Comanches defeated Windthorst 13-0 to win their second straight state championship at Red & Charline McCombs Field in Austin on Thursday, June 2, 2016.
[ click on any photo to enlarge ]
all photos by Travis Harsch, special to the Advocate
The traditional ride through town on a fire truck turned into a bus ride for the Shiner softball team.
Lightning in the area Thursday night forced the Lady Comanches onto a bus, but the weather didn't stop Shiner fans from turning out to welcome the team home from the UIL Softball State Championships in Austin.
Shiner had provided the thunder hours earlier at Red & Charline McCombs Field when it stormed to its second consecutive state championship with a 13-0 win over Windthorst in the Class 2A final stopped after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The Lady Comanches had already set a state record with their 11th state tournament appearance.
They set another state record with their sixth state championship.
In addition, Shiner became the sixth straight team from its current district (28-2A) to win the state title, and seventh in the last 10 years.
"I don't think I've ever heard of anything like that before," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "It's just this area. Everybody really takes softball seriously. You go to Hallettsville, Weimar, Flatonia, La Grange, and that's the way it is in the area."
The Lady Comanches breezed through the state tournament beginning with their 13-2 five-inning semifinal win over Harleton.
But that wasn't the case in Shiner's regional final series against district foe Weimar.
The teams split two games in district play before Shiner won the playoff game to determine postseason seeding.
Weimar won the first game of the playoff series at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin.
Shiner rallied to win Games 2 and 3 and advance to the state tournament.
"There's no doubt those were the toughest," Cerny said.
District of Champions
Teams of the current District 28-2A have won six straight UIL state softball championships and seven of the last 10.
Shiner state titles: 2001*, 2002*, 2008*, 2011, 2015, 2016.
- 2016: Shiner
- 2015: Shiner
- 2014: Weimar
- 2013: Weimar
- 2012: Flatonia
- 2011: Shiner
- 2008: Shiner *
Weimar state titles: 2002**, 2003**, 2006**, 2013, 2014.
Flatonia state titles: 2012.
[ * Class 1A now 2A | ** Class 2A now 3A ]
Cerny credits the youth programs in the area for much of the success enjoyed by the high school teams.
"The Little Leagues are very competitive," he said. "A lot of towns have gone away from Little Leagues. The best players are playing select and that's not the case around here. The better players are still playing Little League. I think that's a big part of it all."
Cerny won his second state softball title in his third season as head coach.
He gives much of the credit to former Shiner softball coaches David Goetz and Brandon Siegel, who began the string of state tournament appearances, and assistant John Hoelter.
Shiner head softball and football coach Steven Cerny watches his players during practice.
[ click on any photo to enlarge ]
Cerny is also Shiner's athletic director and head football coach.
He has led Shiner to a state championship in football and two in baseball as head coach.
Cerny was more at ease coaching softball this season.
"This year, it feels like I finally learned more about the game that I just didn't realize," he said. "I did my homework. I went to several clinics. I went to pitching lessons.
"It's a total different game. The basics are still there. The clinics and stuff are really helpful. If you're going do it, you've got to know the game. I feel a lot more comfortable with it now."
Cerny was back at school Friday to begin the process of ordering football equipment for the upcoming season.
But he arrived later than he planned.
"I told my wife, 'I bet I've had 50 texts and like five phone calls,'" Cerny said. "I was walking out to go to school at 11 (a.m.) and I'm still on my back porch (after noon). I haven't made it to my truck yet. It's really crazy, but that's good."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org