AUSTIN - Shiner's season came to a conclusion with a game-ending double play, but there were a number of reasons why the Comanches won't be going to the state tournament.
Shiner pitcher Kyle Condel tries to compose himself on the mound Saturday during the Comanches' Class 1A regional final against Thorndale. Shiner fell short in its quest to reach the state tournament, falling to Thorndale 6-5 in Game 3 of their best-of-three series. photo by Harry Reese, Special to the Advocate
Thorndale built an early lead and fought off every Shiner comeback attempt and came away with a 6-5 win in Game 3 of their Class 1A regional final series Saturday at Burger Center.
The Bulldogs (24-4) rebounded from a 5-1 loss in Game 1 and took a 14-1 win in Game 2 before eliminating the Comanches (27-4) for the fourth straight season and advancing to the state tournament for the third straight season.
"We made some mistakes early but I thought we hung in there and battled," Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker said. "We were able to get some runners on base but they were able to make some nice defensive plays and get out of jams."
Shiner had 10 hits against Thorndale starter Tyler Pounders and reliever Cirilio Reyes but left nine runners on base and went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"We've talked about that before," Boedeker said. "When you get in big games, you have to come through in those situations. We had several opportunities but we couldn't get runs across."
The Comanches' final opportunity came in the top of the seventh when Kevin Patek drew a leadoff walk from Reyes, who had relieved Pounders in the sixth inning. Adam Kalich pinch ran for Patek and went to second on a sacrifice by Julian Longoria.
Dalton Handley then hit a chopper that nicked off the top of Reyes' glove and went into center field for a base hit. Kalich was rounding third but was held up by Boedeker after Kalen Revia came up with the ball.
"We had one out and their center fielder fielded the ball cleanly," Boedeker said of holding Kalich at third. "He has a great arm and he had a chance to throw him out at the plate. I still felt like we had a good opportunity to score with one out."
Ryan Lawrence, who had two hits, then hit a hard grounder that was fielded by shortstop Austin Falke, who tossed the ball to second baseman Josh Culp to force out pinch runner Drew Stafford and Culp's relay to Eric Carrizales at first completed the double play.
"I thought about it," Boedeker said of having Stafford attempt to steal second. "But I was trying to be patient. I was trying to find the right count to run and we kept hitting the ball early in the count."
Thorndale had eight hits against Shiner starter Kyle Condel, who pitched a four-hitter in Game 1. Condel struck out eight and walked three and was hurt by three errors, which led to two unearned runs.
"Kyle did (struggle) a little bit," Boedeker said of Condel, who threw 100 pitches on two days rest. "But he battled and kept us in the game."
Condel kept Shiner within striking distance with his bat, going 3-for-4 with a two-run inside-the-park home run in the third inning and a two-run double in the sixth. But Shiner's only other run came on D.J. Pustka's fielder's choice grounder in the fourth.
"We keep talking about the little things," Boedeker said. "But against a team like Thorndale, little things become big things and they took advantage."
Thorndale took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after two were out and Condel just missed picking off courtesy runner Dylan Piper at first base. Piper moved to third on a single by Revia and scored on the first of three singles by Reyes.
Revia moved to third on Reyes' single and was able to come home without a throw when it appeared Condel had Reyes picked off first but never made a throw and ran at him and followed him to second base while Revia came home.
"That's a play we work on all the time," Boedeker said. "We just got lost in the moment."
Condel got the Comanches even in the third after Pustka reached on an error. Condel drove an 0-2 pitch from Pounders when he drove a ball over the head of Revia in center field. Revia leaped for the ball and it rolled to the wall, allowing Condel to circle the bases.
But Thorndale made it 4-2 in the bottom of the inning after Culp drew a leadoff walk and went to third on an errant pickoff throw by Condel. Culp scored on a double by Hinistroza and Piper, who was courtesy running for the catcher, scored on a two-out single by Reyes.
Shiner pulled with a run in the fourth after loading the bases with one out on singles by Lawrence and Matthew Hibbs, who had three hits, and a walk by Josh Nance. Lawrence scored on Pustka's grounder, but Pounder got Condel to groundout to third to end the inning.
The Bulldogs increased their lead to three in the bottom of the inning. Victor Reyes singled with one out and Joe Sandoval drew a walk. Thorndale loaded the bases when an apparent double play grounder by Culp was bobbled by Pustka at second base. Falke followed with a grounder that bounced off of Longoria's glove at first base, scoring Reyes and Sandoval.
After Lawrence and Hibbs had led off the sixth with hits and been erased in a pair of fielder's choices, Condel doubled to the wall in left-center field to make it 6-5. But Cirilio Reyes escaped the jam by striking out Mark Casteel and thanks to his fielders, ended the game and Shiner's season in the seventh.
"We put in a lot of work in to get prepared for games like this," Boedeker said of the Comanches, who return six starters next season. "We need to learn from this. We've got a lot of guys coming back and we want to take the next step."
Game summary Game of June 2, 2007 Score F Shiner 0 0 2 1 0 2 0 -- 5 Thorndale 2 0 2 2 0 0 x -- 6 Highlights Class 1A Regional Final Game 3 at Austin Burger Center Kyle Condel and Mark Casteel. Tyler Pounders, Cirilio Reyes (6) and Jeff Hinistroza. WP: Pounders. LP: Condel (16-2). Highlights: (S) Condel 3-for-4, 2-run inside-the-park HR, 2B, 4 RBIs; Matthew Hibbs 3-for-3; Ryan Lawrence 2-for-4, run. (T) Hinistroza 2-for-3, 2B, RBI; C. Reyes 3-for-3, 2 RBIs. Records: Shiner 27-4; Thorndale 24-4. Note: Thorndale wins series 2-1 and advances to state tournament in Round Rock.