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Shimek's improbable run as an unhittable pitcher

By Victoria Advocate
July 2, 2011 at 2:02 a.m.


NEWCOMER OF THE YEARKRISTIN SCHACHERLShiner, freshman, shortstop

Batted .509 for the Lady Comanches this year, and was named newcomer for District 28-1A.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEARHOLLY HAASShiner, senior, catcher

Was selected as co-defensive player of the year for District 28-1A.

OFFENSIVE PLAYEROF THE YEARTIFFANY CASTILLOCalhoun, junior, catcher

Mashed 13 home runs and batted .661 this year.

PITCHER OF THE YEARHOLLY PARENICASt. Joseph, junior, pitcher

Pitched 204 innings, and had a .51 ERA in playoffs to lead Lady Flyers to TAPPS 5A title.

SHIMEK'S SOFTBALL HONORSTGCA Class 1A all-state team and an all-star team selection

TSWA Class 1A player of the year

District 28-1A most valuable player

Most valuable player of the Class 1A state tournament

Selected to Victoria Crossroads All-Star team

COACHES OF THE YEARCraig Laugerand Rudy DiazSt. Joseph

Coaches Lauger and Diaz had led the Lady Flyers to the TAPPS state touranment three years in a row without a title before earning one this year by beating the largest school in their class, Houston St. Agnes, in the title game. St. Joseph is the smallest at its level.

2011 VICTORIA ADVOCATE SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR :: Ashley Shimek, Shiner

Ashley Shimek had contentedly been a shortstop for most of her softball playing career.

But Shiner needed help at pitcher. Holly Haas was catcher by trade, although she had pitched for much of last season and through the non-district portion of this year.

Early in District 28-1A play, Shiner coach Brandon Siegel approached the senior, who had been playing third base to allow freshman Kristen Schacherl to play, and said she would be pitching more often.

"I had been doing well at it and Holly was feeling more comfortable as a catcher," Shimek said.

"That was just bizarre to me," she added. "I had never done this before."

She asked her coach one poignant question that became the motto of the season: Did she need to get serious about this?

"Do I need to go home, work out, get stronger in my legs and get better at this," she asked her coach.

His reply was close to immediate: "Yes, I'm dead serious."

So, Shimek got serious. And what happened next for the career shortstop turned pitcher was nothing short of amazing.

Shimek pitched the last 20 games of the season for the Lady Comanches, helping to lead the team to a Class 1A state title. Her numbers during that stretch are almost unfathomable: 24-0 for the season, nine shutouts and an ERA well below 1 run per game.

Her phenomenal run through District 28-1A play and the Class 1A playoffs paced Shiner to a state title helped earn her top honors: District 28-1A MVP, a selection to the Class 1A all-state team from the Texas Girls Coaches Association, and player of the year from the Texas Sports Writers Association.

Her resume made her a no-doubt selection as the Victoria Advocate's softball player of the year.

The crowning moment of her season was a two-hit shutout of Grapeland in the state final to secure a state title for Shiner.

Shimek made a single run, scored in the sixth inning, hold up for Shiner in the Class 1A state championship.

She brimmed with confidence about a job well done.

"That one run was all we really needed," Shimek said. "I had to have confidence in myself to help make that one run held up."

But the start of the game also came with butterflies. Yes, Shimek had been to a state final before when the Lady Comanches made it in 2008. But she only had a cup of tea in the game, pinch running a few times but never taking a swing or playing in the field.

The first few pitches, she said, were unnerving.

"It's always those very first pitches that were unreal to me," Shimek said. "But after that, nothing was hard about it. I knew what I had to do and I did it."

The transitions were not always easy for her, either. She had played at shortstop for three seasons, then moved to third base at the behest of the coaches because of her experience.

She wasn't exactly keen to the idea, she said.

"It was really hard in the beginning," Shimek said. "I had been playing there for three years. Coach felt more comfortable with me at third base rather than a new player. Then I was moved to pitcher."

Shimek said she had some experience in the circle, but not a lot. She had pitched a few times before the start of the district season with some success, but it was always as a backup.

"If I was put in I would do it and wouldn't mind it," she said. "I learned when I was 8 years old from my dad. I've never really had any real lessons from anyone."

This was different. This was a full time change to a radically different position. Shimek said she found a way to manage.

"As I kept racking up wins, it got fun," she said.

A lot of hard work had to go into being successful. The offense for the Comanches was a key factor often, helping to dig the team out of holes and helping Shimek pitch with leads the majority of the time.

She gives credit to her teammates. The Lady Comanches progressed into a dominant team at the right time, and hit their stride in time for the playoffs.

"As the season progressed, we worked hard at practice, we got better every day," she said. "Our hitting was just dominating, and they saved my butt several times.

"I wouldn't want to play with any other group of girls."

2011 VICTORIA ADVOCATE FIRST SOFTBALL TEAM

PAIGEWERNER

Senior, pitcher, Shiner St. Paul

RYANHAGAN

Junior, pitcher, Yoakum

CHERISE KLEKAR

Senior, pitcher, Hallettsville

JOCELYN JONES

Senior, third baseman, Industrial

CHANNINGNOBLES

Senior, catcher, Yoakum

LEXIEELKINS

Sophomore, catcher, Victoria East

RILEAWHITAKER

Senior, second baseman, Calhoun

BRIANNASHIMEK

Senior, first baseman, St. Joseph

MARISSASNYDER

Junior, pitcher, Calhoun

SEVANAHCAMPOS-REYES

Junior, shortstop, Victoria West

MADISONKUCERA

Sophomore, outfielder, Edna

CHELSEALARA

Junior, pitcher, Refugio

ALYSSAREYES

Soph., third baseman, Ganado

ANDREAHAWKINS

Junior, outfielder, Bay City

MARINARIOS

Junior, third baseman, Victoria East

PaigeTerrell

Sophomore, outfielder, St. Joseph

2011 VICTORIA ADVOCATE SECOND SOFTBALL TEAM

HALEY BAROS

Bay City, senior, pitcher

KATIE NIEMEYER

Yorktown, senior, pitcher/utility

MIRANDA HOGSED

Industrial, pitcher, junior

KARLY RAE HOERIG

Victoria West, sophomore, pitcher

ALISHA QUINTERRO

Victoria East, freshman, pitcher

JENNY VESELY

Ganado, catcher, junior

SAMANTHA NIEMEYER

Yorktown, catcher, freshman

KRISTEN WISE

Refugio, senior, catcher

STEPHANIE BUTSCHEK

Hallettsville, senior, first baseman

DAREN GALLUP

Victoria West, junior, first baseman

ANGELA ROBISHEAUX

Victoria East, senior, first baseman

BRIANNA ARGUELLO

Victoria East, sophomore, shortstop

ALLYSON BLAKENEY

Yoakum, junior, shortstop

DARIAN SANCHEZ

Calhoun, sophomore, shortstop

SPENSER STRNADEL

St. Joseph, senior, second base/third base

BRITTANY DWORACZYK

Calhoun, sophomore, third base

STEPHANIE KASPER

St. Joseph, senior, outfield/first base

WHITNEY ORSAK

Edna, senior, outfielder

ALLENA CANNADY

Victoria West, sophomore, outfielder

AMBER RAMIREZ

Shiner, outfielder, senior

KATE TUCKER

St. Joseph, junior, utility

RYAH MICHALEC

Shiner, utility, junior

EMILY WAGNER

Shiner St. Paul, senior

JORDIN JONES

Industrial, freshman

HONORABLE MENTIONS

ST. JOSEPH: Fabiola Chinea, Mariah Clay, Sarah Sainz

VICTORIA EAST: A.C. Cruz, Jennie Johnson, Jodie Garcia

VICTORIA WEST: Abby Mease, Eboni Murphy

CALHOUN: Kati May

EL CAMPO: Morgan McClain

BAY CITY: Alyssa Montoya, Ashley Montoya, Brianna DelaRosa, Brianna Payne, Lindsey May

GONZALES: Shayla Simper, Cassie LaFleur

CUERO: Maegan Martin, Madison Simpson

YOAKUM: Reagan Renken, Morgan Caka, Courtney Valka, Brandye Jemelka

HALLETTSVILLE: Madison Schindler, Megan Busselman, Alexis Louden

WEIMAR: Vanessa Maupin, Peyton Ervin, Allison Srubar, Haley Guenther, Kendall Marak, Haley Mendez

SCHULENBURG: Alyssa Michalke, Sarah Walker

RICE CONSOLIDATED: Adriana Ruiz, Delilah Gentry

EAST BERNARD: Erica Reyes, Courtney Hollinger

GOLIAD: Janna Castro, Michelle Campbell, Stormie Lutz

SHINER: Stacey Perez, Megan Chumchal, Julianna Rankin, Jordan Pietsch

MOULTON: Barbara Stevenson, Mary Kubicek

GANADO: Katie Diaz, Georgi Garza, Brianna Ledwick, Ashley Bridges

FLATONIA: Courtney Mica, Taylor Williams, Alex Bruns, Katie Steinhouser

LOUISE: Michaela Bram, Kaleigh Kutac

INDUSTRIAL: Bianca Moreno, Michaela Montes, Katelynn Bell, Kaitlin Wittnebert, Julia Stastny, Katlyn Strauss

EDNA: Madison Garza, Brandy Vaclavick

VAN VLECK: Megan Huerta, Mollie Huber, Kyla Patten, Meg DeMent, Megan Stell, Kamille Kucera, Kara Bickham, Lyndee DeMent

BOLING: Emma Sparkman, Alyssa Ferrel, Kyla Lockley

BLOOMINGTON: Brittany Wallace

TIDEHAVEN: Missy Boudreaux, Jessica Neuman

HALLETTSVILLE SACRED HEART: Ariel Fogt

SHINER ST. PAUL: Alexa Schaefer, Kali Kocian, Lizzy Opiela, Katelynn Leist, Mary Adamek, Bethany Pokluda

FAITH ACADEMY: Courtney Grevey

NIXON-SMILEY: Mikayla Vasque, D'Laine Palacio, Kelby Henderson.

PALACIOS: Erica Serna

WHARTON: Courtney Barker, Savanna Bijarro

WOODSBORO: Kati Perez, Malorie Nesloney, Hannah Carmichael, Melissa Cisneros, Jamie Wilson

YORKTOWN: Caitlin Seifert, freshman Morgan Campos

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