AUSTIN - Shiner pitcher Heather Haas and the rest of the Lady Comanches made sure that an eerily familiar beginning to their Class 1A semifinal game Thursday did not have a painfully familiar ending.
The Shiner Lady Comanches defeated the McLeod Lady Longhorns 3-0 on Thursday morning in the Class 1A state semifinals. Shiner will face Bosqueville in the title game on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at McCombs Field in Austin. photo by Harry Reese, Special to the Advocate
Like a year ago, rain greeted Shiner at McCombs Field on the campus of the University of Texas and delayed the start of their morning semifinal matchup. But thanks to the one-hit pitching of Haas and the one inning in which they were able to put together enough offense to get to McLeod pitcher Kelsey Parker, the Lady Comanches (22-6-1) advanced to Saturday's title game with a 3-0 victory over the Lady Longhorns.
"It's great to get back to state and go one step farther and be playing on Saturday," said coach Brandon Siegel, whose Lady Comanches will play Bosqueville (25-7) in Saturday's 8:30 a.m. final. Bosqueville defeated Seymour 6-0 in Thursday's other Class 1A semifinal. "We had all the pressure, the rain delay, the same circumstances, and we handled it well."
Almost as easy as Haas handled the Lady Longhorns. The sophomore struck out eight and allowed only one McLeod player to advance past first base the entire game. Haas, who improved to 21-6, threw only 76 pitches, including 49 for strikes. The Lady Longhorns hit the ball out of the infield only four times.
"We did what we wanted to when we came here last year," Haas said. "We took care of unfinished business."
Shiner scored all the runs it needed in the third.
After Lauren Michalec drew a one-out walk and Haas followed with a single, Paige Michalec showed bunt, then slapped a single past the left side of McLeod's onrushing infield to drive in the first run of the game.
Alyssa Strauss' sacrifice fly to left field scored Haas to make it 2-0. The Lady Comanches, who will be making their third championship game appearance, went up 3-0 when third baseman Erika Lacroix fielded Taylor Hajek's grounder and threw wildly to first base to allow Paige Michalec to score.
But Parker (9-12) held Shiner in check the rest of the way. Parker, who scattered six hits and walked two, managed to get out of jams throughout the game and escaped a two-out, bases-loaded dilemma in the sixth by retiring Haas, the Lady Comanches' top hitter, on a flyout to left fielder Whitney Idom.
Siegel said the Lady Comanches had difficulty putting together hits and adjusting to the slow velocity of Parker's pitches.
"We just couldn't get the timely hits when we needed them," said Siegel, who saw his team leave seven runners on base. "Our girls seem to like faster pitchers. They get real anxious when they see someone who throws a little bit slower. They have a hard time adjusting."
Both teams had to adjust after a pair of lightning delays pushed the start of the game back two hours, 12 minutes.
"It didn't help us a whole lot," McLeod coach Kyle Brown said of the wait. "The girls kind of got tired and stiff. We just kept sitting, sitting and sitting. But Shiner had to sit, too."
"We were kind of used to it because we went threw it last year," said Haas, who was the losing pitcher in Shiner's 6-2 semifinal loss to Clyde Eula. "I think it made us more anxious than nervous."
Haas' no-hit bid ended in the fourth when Idom led off with a standup double over the head of center fielder Ieisha Flowers. Haas retired the next three batters on harmless pop-ups, but was still upset she surrendered the hit.
"I always get upset when people get hits off of me," said Haas, who only walked one batter and retired the next 12 batters she faced after Idom's double. "It bothers me, but it makes me want to pitch even harder."
Haas should be well-rested for Saturday's game against Bosqueville, which the Lady Comanches beat 6-3 in last year's Region IV title game.
The Lady Comanches will practice today in Austin and be the visiting team in Saturday's final.
"All the pressure is off now," said sophomore third baseman Amber Shimek, who was 3-for-3. "We just need to do what we need to do now. We want a gold medal."
Game Summary Game of May 31, 2007 F McLeod 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -- 0 Shiner 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 -- 3 Highlights Class 1A State SemiFinal WP: Heather Haas (21-6). LP: Kelsey Parker (9-12). Highlights: (S) Haas one-hitter, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk, 1-for-4, run; Paige Michalec 1-for-3, RBI, run; Alyssa Strauss 1-for-2, 3B, RBI; Maci Schaefer 1-for-3; Amber Shimek 3-for-3; Lauren Michalec 1-for-2, run. Records: Shiner 22-6-1, McLeod 14-20. Note: Shiner advances to Saturday’s 8:30 a.m. championship game. 2007 UIL State Softball Tournament Info