Victoria Advocate On-Line

Six-Run Fourth Helps Clinch Championship

Sunday, June 3, 2001
by Bill Hatch, Advocate Sports Writer
Victoria Advocate Sports Section

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AUSTIN -- Shiner found out one bad inning doesn't spoil a state championship.

The Lady Comanches overcame a slide toward disaster in the second inning to pull out a 10-4 win over Joaquin for the Class 1A championship at the UIL State Softball Tournament on Saturday morning at Red McCombs Field.

Joaquin's April Gatlin attempts to tag out Shiner's Chelsea Lauer during the second inning of the Class 1A UIL Softball State Final on Saturday at McCombs Field in Austin. Lauer was safe on the play, and the Lady Comanches rolled to a 10-4 win.
In the second, Lindsey Michalec departed from her usual steady mien and issued three walks and hit a batter to give up two runs.

However, Shiner (22-4) bounced back with runs in the second on a RBI single by Hailey Michalec and in the third on a RBI bunt single by Heather Stratman to tie the game and then broke it open with six runs in the fourth inning.

Lindsey Maxey, the game's most valuable player, Melissa Boedeker and Chelsea Malina had RBI singles while two runs scored on an error and one on a wild pitch.

That all but finished the Lady Rams (17-12), who failed to get a hit in the third through six innings. After Shiner stretched its lead to 10-2, Joaquin got a two-run double from April Gatlin in the seventh.

Gatlin's reward was to be picked off of second. Shortstop Cherise Kaspar made a quick toss to Maxey at second to get the unaware Gatlin when she wandered off the bag.

Lindsey Michalec then struck out opposing pitcher Ashley Jones and got catcher Lauren Weeks to groundout to second to end the game and trigger the Shiner celebration.

Maxey gave a little hop after the final out and then rushed to hug Michalec. They were quickly surrounded by the rest of their teammates. The team paused to accept their gold medals and team championship plaque and then were cheered by their fans.

Afterwards, Shiner coach David Goetz said, "I don't know how to explain it but this is a great feeling. These girls deserve it. They have talent and desire and that's why we won."

The Lady Comanches seemed almost subdued as they walked out of the stadium to find their parents and friends.

"This has never happened before in Shiner," said Lindsey Michalec, referring to three previous trips to the Class 2A state tournament in 1996, 1997 and 1999 that ended in semifinal losses. "I've been waiting for this for four years."

She shrugged her shoulders and added, "My graduation hasn't sunk in yet."

That the wait has ended was due in no small part to the senior pitcher. She took over that role after Maxey suffered a broken finger on her pitching hand. In effect, Michalec rescued the Lady Comanches and kept their state dreams alive. She also won 11 of the last 12 games she pitched.

So the Lady Comanches were there solidly behind Michalec when she ran into trouble in the second. They backed her with a 12-hit attack while Michalec got her composure back and finished with a three-hitter and nine strikeouts.

"I got a bit flustered," said Michalec of her problems in the second. "The umpire's plate (strike zone) was pretty small and it bothered me a little bit. It was a just a bad inning for me."

Jones led off the second with a single before Michalec struck out Weeks. She issued a walk to Krystal Sandifer and Lindsey Martin sacrificed to advance the runners to second and third.

Michalec walked Krystal Stotts to load the bases and Jessica Minkler to force in a run. She then hit Ladaish McDaniel to force in a second run before settling down and getting Kimberly Cook to groundout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the second, Michalec walked with two outs and stole second. She later scored on a single by Hailey Michalec, who was 2-for-4.

"Getting that run helped her," Goetz said of his pitcher. "She stepped up and got after it. She's done an awesome job all year."

Joaquin had only one base runner in the next three innings and she didn't advance beyond first base.

Shiner tied the game in the third inning. Maxey, who was 3-for-4, tripled to left and scored when Stratman surprised Joaquin by bunting for an infield hit.

"You would be surprised at what you can do when the pressure is on," said Stratman, smiling broadly. "Sometimes the speed just comes out."

Shiner's Lindsey Maxey raises her hand to signal "No.1" as her teammate Heather Stratman lifts her in the air after their 10-4 win against Joaquin during the 1A UIL State Final softball game at the University of Texas McCombs Field in Austin on Saturday.
The Lady Comanches took control in the fourth inning. Downey led off the inning with a walk and Hailey Michalec followed with an infield hit before Kaspar hit into a force play at third.

Michalec and Kaspar pulled off a double steal and Shiner then took the lead when Michalec scored on a wild pitch.

Boedeker, who was 2-for-4, and Maxey each had a hit to drive in a run and give Shiner a 5-2 lead.

Singles by Stratman and Chelsea Malina scored Maxey. Stratman and Malina scored on an error by Joaquin second baseman Jessica Birdwell.

Shiner added a run in the fifth on singles by Boedeker and Stratman.

In the sixth, Lindsey Michalec reached on a error, moved to second on a hit by Downey, stole third and scored on an error.

Joaquin tried to mount a threat in the sixth, getting runners aboard on an error and walk. But Michalec got a popout, strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.

"It took us a while to get our bats going, but once we got going everybody hit," Stratman said. "It's a great feeling knowing you've accomplished so much. This is a good way to end your senior year."

"This is just a special experience," Maxey added. "All the work and practice and pain and I wouldn't have it any other way."

    Joaquin 020 000 2 ---  4  3  8
    Shiner  011 611 x --- 10 12  1

    Ashley Jones and Lauren Weeks; Lindsey Michalec and Heather Stratman.
    W - Michalec (13-4). L - Jones (17-12). Triples: (S) Lindsey Maxey.
    Doubles: (J) April Gatlin.


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