SHINER - It's no secret for the Shiner Comanches that the four most experienced seniors bring much more than hits, runs and RBIs to the team.
Shiner Junior Ky Sandelovic takes batting practice. photos by Angeli Wright, Victoria Advocate
"They're the ones that do a good job of keeping us focused and keeping everybody up in the dugout," said coach Daniel Boedeker.
For Coy Boedeker, Joey Gamez, Cuatro Rankin and Wesley Patek, their high school careers are coming full circle during the Class 1A baseball playoffs.
The quartet has been passing on their postseason knowledge and helping the younger players gain experience this season.
And they like their chances.
"They should take advantage of this because we actually have a really good chance to go this year," Patek said.
Coy Boedeker and Patek play in the infield. Rankin plays left field. When Gamez isn't pitching, he's in the outfield also.
Shiner's Joey Gamez, left, and Wesley Patek talk while waiting for their turn in the batting cage during baseball practice Monday at Green-Dickson Park in Shiner. The Comanches will play Thrall on Friday in the first game of their Class 1A Regional Quarterfinals in La Grange.
The Comanches travel to La Grange for a best-of-three regional quarterfinal series with Thrall starting on Friday.
Shiner won District 28-1A this year and earned a bye in the first round. They took on Bremond in the area round last weekend.
In Game 1 of the series, Rankin had three RBIs and Shiner built an early six-run lead and made it hold up in a 9-8 win. He's served as a starter in the lineup, spurring others by getting on base.
"It just feels good, feels natural," said Rankin about those games.
Added Daniel Boedeker: "He's a good spark plug for us in the lineup."
Shiner trailed in the second game to Bremond by two runs before Ky Sandelovic hit a game-winning grand slam in the top of the seventh inning as the Comanches won 10-7.
"Even if a team jumps on you quick you can battle back," Gamez said. "In the playoffs, it's not over until it's over and you make that last out."
Class 1A Regional Quarterfinals
Shiner vs. Thrall
Best-of-three at La Grange Fairgrounds
Game 1, Friday, 4:30 p.m.; Game 2, following Game 2; Game 3, if necessary, Saturday, 11:30 a.m.
2011 Shiner Comanches
Jake Jalufka, Jr.
Coy Boedeker, Sr.
Brady Cejka, Soph.
Wesley Patek, Sr.
Kris Patek, Soph.
Donovan Mardis, Jr.
Jacob Stafford, Fresh.
Blaine Caka, Jr.
Matt Pohler, Jr.
Joey Gamez, Sr.
Chase Arledge, Soph.
Austin Esse, Soph.
Zach Reese, Jr.
Cuatro Rankin, Sr.
Ky Sandelovic, Jr.
Caleb Kalich, Fr.
Nick Nevlud, Jr.
Cole Strauss, Soph.
Head Coach: Daniel Boedeker
Asst. Coaches: Ray Neal and Steven Cerny
Daniel Boedeker has been a part of Shiner state championship teams as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
The coach said that the 2011 Comanches have something in common with the state champions he was a part of, chemistry.
"Everybody knows what their role is and they accepted their role and that's what it takes to win," said Daniel Boedeker.
Added Patek: "I wouldn't say there's any superstars out here, but it's hard to beat a team that's solid instead of a team that has just one or two great players."
Shiner has won four state baseball championships, the last coming in 2004.
Although the Comanches have to win four more games to make it five state titles, the seniors know there wouldn't be a better way to end their careers than with a state final victory at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock next month.
"That would be the best feeling ever," said Coy Boedeker. "Your last playoff game, you win it and that's how you end your high school career."