Shiner's Kyle Condel remembered well the last time he pitched against Thorndale.
Shiner pitcher Kyle Condel is congratulated by his teammates after the win. Shiner won the first game of the series 5-1 on Wednesday night at the Tony Burger Center in Austin. all photos by Brian K. Diggs, Austin American-Statesman
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"They knocked me out in the third or fourth inning," Condel said. "I've had a bitter taste in my mouth."
That bitterness turned sweet Wednesday night.
Condel struck out 13 batters in a complete-game victory as Shiner defeated Thorndale 5-1 in the first game of a best-of-three Class A regional final at Burger Field.
The past two seasons, Thorndale has knocked Shiner out of the playoffs, including last season when the Bulldogs roughed up the Comanches for 23 runs in a two-game sweep.
But behind the left-handed Condel's dominating performance, Shiner took one step toward ending Thorndale's streak.
"That fueled me," said Condel, who pitched in both of the Thorndale losses last year. "That made me throw better."
Thorndale, meanwhile, ended up as its second-worst enemy -- behind Condel.
In the first inning, Bulldogs starting pitcher Cirilo Reyes walked two batters and failed to get the runner out throwing to second on a bunt to load the bases.
Shiner's Josh Nance scored on Kevin Patek's fielder's choice RBI, giving Shiner a 1-0 lead that stayed the same until the sixth inning.
Thorndale's Kalen Revia runs towards first base while being chased by Shiner shortstop Josh Nance during a rundown at Burger Center Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs didn't get a hit off Condel until the fourth, when Kalen Revia connected on a line-drive base hit to right field. But Condel later picked off Revia at first base.
"We didn't execute very well," said Bulldogs coach Kelly Kuhl. "We gave them a lot tonight."
The fifth inning proved to be the most devastating for Thorndale.
With two outs, Reyes hit D.J. Pustka on the shoulder to put him on first base with no one on. Pustka advanced to third after a wild pick-off throw by catcher Jeff Hinistroza, then scored on a passed ball, giving Shiner a 2-0 lead.
Then the game turned physical.
Shiner's next batter, Mark Casteel, popped up an infield fly down the first-base line. Instead of going for the ball, Reyes lowered his shoulder into Casteel's chin.
Umpires ejected Reyes, Thorndale's ace.
"If it was intentional, it wasn't right," said Kuhl, who wasn't sure of Reyes' status for Friday's game at Burger Field.
In the top of the sixth, Thorndale (22-5) loaded the bases with just one out, but could only score one run.