Tradition trumps youth; Wildcats clinch District 28-1A title
April 19, 2013 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2013 at 11:20 p.m.
WEIMAR - Shiner and Weimar are steeped in baseball tradition.
The teams have combined for eight state championships and are competitive from year to year.
The teams are extremely young this season, but it wasn't surprising that the Comanches and Wildcats were battling for the District 28-1A championship on a chilly Friday night at Veterans Memorial Park Strickland Field.
"I think it's a great deal," said Weimar coach Lee Mueller, whose team starts three sophomores and one freshman.
"These guys have been around baseball all their lives. These kids love the game. They come out here ready to work every day so it's a thing that plays a big part."
Mueller was a member of Weimar's 1996 and 1997 state championship teams, and he'll lead this year's Wildcats (12-10, 8-1) into the playoffs as the district champion after their 3-2 win over Shiner.
"We started off approaching it differently," Mueller said. "But now, I just told them grow up and play the game, and that's what they do."
The same is true for Shiner (14-7, 7-2), which is starting three sophomores.
"Mistakes are made sometimes, and you hope you can learn from them," said Shiner coach Daniel Boedeker, who was a member of the Comanches' 1992 state championship team. "We're still preaching for them to be aggressive. They're good athletes; we want them running the bases and swinging the bats. They work hard, so that's just the way you want to play baseball."
Weimar rallied from a 2-0 deficit by scoring three runs in the fifth, two coming on a triple by Clay Kansteiner.
"I keep telling the kids, 'Do what we do,' and that's make plays and put the ball in play," Mueller said. "I kept preaching do what we do, and it came through for us."
Senior Justin Rosenauer started for the Wildcats and worked into the sixth inning before being relieved by sophomore John Blaha, who earned the save.
"We started off in a big slump like we weren't going to win any games," said Blaha, who is the younger brother of UHV shortstop Dylan Blaha. "We came out and worked hard. We got all our basketball boys back from their long playoff run. We got back to work and came out district champs."
Shiner was hoping to stay on course for the district title but can clinch second with a win over Flatonia.
"It's been a little different," said senior shortstop Brady Cejka. "We had a team that played together for a long time. We're learning to work together and become a team. We're building up slowly, but we'll get to where we need to be by the playoffs."
Shiner and Weimar know where their fans expect them to be in each and every baseball season.
"The tradition stays there," Cejka said. "The young ones know what we need to do to get what we need done."
"I think it makes it a little tougher," Blaha said. "It makes our expectations go up a little higher, but we've met our goals this year."