Bells rallies to stun Shiner in state championship

Marcus Gutierrez By Marcus Gutierrez

June 1, 2017 at 9:57 p.m.
Updated June 2, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Shiner players reflect on their loss to Bells in the UIL Class 2A Softball State Championship  at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin on Thursday.

Shiner players reflect on their loss to Bells in the UIL Class 2A Softball State Championship at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin on Thursday.   Angela Piazza for The Victoria Advocate

AUSTIN - Shiner's Madison Jalufka and the Lady Comanches were on their way to their third straight state title.

After leading Bells 5-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning in the UIL Class 2A Softball State Championship, the Lady Comanches were close to victory.

Down to their final three outs, however, the Panthers made their move.

Bells scored five runs in the top of the seventh to rally and upset No. 1 Shiner 7-6 to win its first state championship at Red and Charline McCombs Field on Thursday.

"To be honest, I thought we had it," said Jalufka, a senior catcher. "My emotions were going, and those girls came up and hit the ball. You have to give them credit; they did what they need to do to win the game."

Shiner (25-3-2) was making its third straight state final appearance.

Bells' (32-3) Cheyenne Floyd, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the game, hit a two-run double to cut Shiner's lead to one. A passed ball brought the tying run home.

Bella Smith hit a two-run home run to left field as the Panthers took a two-run advantage into the bottom of the seventh inning.

Shiner didn't let up in the bottom of the seventh.

With runners on second and third, Bethany Nevlud hit a sacrifice fly to cut the Panthers lead to one.

The Lady Comanches loaded the bases with two outs, but left all three runners on base as and a fly out to right field ended the game.

Shiner left 15 runners on base in the game.

"It's just the way it goes," said Shiner coach Steven Cerny. "I didn't think we played bad at all. I think they had that one big inning and made some clutch hits. I knew Bethany was getting a little tired, but she was still throwing strikes and had the bottom of the lineup coming up, and we were playing good defense.

"We had some opportunities early and we could have pushed some more runs across, but we didn't," Cerny added. "I'm very proud of the girls, and they don't have to be ashamed of anything."

"I'm so thankful to be apart of this special group," Jalufka said. "There's no better place, no better team, no better coaches than Shiner. I'm glad of what we have accomplished here."

Shiner got off to a strong start when shortstop Kailey Williams hit a two-run double in the bottom of the first as the Lady Comanches took a 2-1 advantage.

With runners on second and third, senior right fielder Kassidy Bishop, who went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs, hit an RBI single to push Shiner's lead to two in the bottom of the second.

"We started out the game strong," Bishop said. "I think that we knew we had it in the bag and let up a little, but we can't help that they made plays."

Senior Mackinly Pilat, who went 2-for-4 with a double and scored three runs, started the bottom of the fourth with a double. Bishop hit an RBI triple as the Lady Comanches took a 5-2 lead over Bells.

"Playing with a team like this makes you appreciate more things in life," Bishop said. "We had a lot of people support us, and they were always there for us. I know that we have won two championships, but I really wanted this third one so bad. We have never been on a losing side, and it hurts. But I'm confident that they're confident they will come back next year."

Shiner still owns a UIL-record six state championships.

The Lady Comanches, who were making their state-record 12th state appearance, are tied with Waco Midway for the most playoff wins in the UIL's 26-year softball history with 101.

"Right now we're hurt, and there's no doubt about it. We're upset," Cerny said. "We wanted to win it all. In a week or so, we're going to look back and be proud of what we have accomplished."

Bells 7, Shiner 6

Bells 100 001 5 - 7 11 3

Shiner 210 200 1 - 6 10 1

W - Cheyenne Floyd (22-3). L - Bethany Nevlud.

Highlights - (Shiner) Mackinly Pilat 2-for-4, 3 RS, 1 SB; Kassidy Bishop 2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBIs; Kailey Williams 2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBIs; Madison Jalufka 1-for-5. (Bells) Bella Smith 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs; Kylie Stubbs 2-for-2; Cheyenne Floyd 3-for-4, 2 2B, 2 RBIs; Kinley Ives 1-for-4, RBI.

Records - Shiner 25-3-2, Bells 32-3.



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