Austin American-Statesman On-Line

Thrall splits with Shiner,
sets up deciding third game

Friday, May 20, 2011
Danny Davis, Austin American-Statesman Staff

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LA GRANGE -- Thrall's offense got to La Grange just in time to save the Tigers' season.

Thrall used a five-run fifth inning to propel itself to a 6-2 victory in the second game of a regional quarterfinal series with Shiner. Earlier in the day at Fairgrounds Ballpark, Thrall was held to three hits in a 2-1 loss to the Comanches.

A winner-takes-all third game will be played today in La Grange at 11:30 a.m.

"We approached it as a best-of-three," Thrall coach Jeff Doege said. "First game isn't going to win or lose it, (the) second game was most important."

After winning the District 26-A title and earning a first-round bye, Thrall scored a 14-0 victory over Burton last week in its postseason opener. This season, the high-scoring Thrall offense also posted a 31-3 win over Hearne, a 21-11 win over Waco Reicher and a 38-0 win over Bartlett.

But the Tigers would not have as much luck on Friday against Shiner pitcher Ky Sandelovic.

Sandelovic, a right-handed junior, struck out seven in Shiner's opening game victory. Shiner scored two runs in top of the sixth inning and the junior right-hander made the lead stick.

Aaron Kirby -- who was the losing pitcher in Friday's opening game -- reached base in all three of his plate appearances against Sandelovic and Hayden Caffey scored Thrall's lone run after leading off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double. The final seven batters in the Tigers' batting order, however, went 0-for-19.

In the second game, Thrall continued its offensive struggles against Shiner senior Joey Gamez, who limited the Tigers to one hit and no runs over the first four innings.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning, Branson Chandler and Logan Lovelace -- the sixth and seventh hitters in Thrall's batting order -- led off the frame with back-to-back singles and Austin Stolte and Lane Hobbs reached base on back-to-back Shiner errors.

Chandler scored on the second Shiner error and Thrall got three more runs home on singles by Kirby and Colton Mikulencak. Thrall then scored its fifth run of the frame on Shiner's fourth error of the inning.

"From here on out, there's good teams and they've got good pitchers," said Doege, whose team added an addition run and two more hits in the seventh inning. "We had timely hits, where as we didn't have timely hits in the first game."

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