NEW CARLISLE — It may be over, but Anna’s seniors have left a mark on the program that will long be remembered by Rockets fans.
It’s a list of accomplishments many freshmen would be pleased with entering high school: 85 wins, four Shelby County Athletic League titles and three district final appearances.
Anna came close to making a fourth district final appearance on Wednesday, but a big early lead by Dayton Christian was too much to overcome.
The Warriors jumped out to a 7-0 lead and held on late to beat the Rockets 13-10 in a Division III sectional final at Tecumseh High School. Anna finishes 17-8 overall — the third year in a row the team has won at least 17 games.
Dayton Christian scored five runs in the second to build its big early lead, but Anna scored six runs in the bottom half of the inning to pull close.
The Rockets pulled within one run again fifth, but Dayton Christian closed out the win with two runs in the seventh.
“The senior leadership from this class has done that year after year after year,” Anna coach Kristian Althauser said. “Last year, we were seven runs down (in a sectional final against Springfield Northeastern) going into our last two outs, and we won the ball game.
“This year we were down big again early, and it was our seniors again that led us. Hats off to them for leading us and keeping us in the game.”
The Rockets will lose Aidan Endsley, Caleb Kauffman, Derek Coverstone, Seth Stiefel, Zach White and Noah Iler to graduation. Endsley, Coverstone and White are four-year starters while Stiefel and Kauffman are two-year starters.
Aside from three district final appearances, Anna has made the regionals twice in the last four years.
“You come away looking back at this career and can’t be anything other than pleased,” Althauser said. “Not too many senior classes graduate with four league titles.”
Walks and hit batters hurt Anna on Wednesday. Dayton Christian walked 10 times and had five batters hit by pitches. The Rockets also had five errors and allowed six unearned runs.
“The walks and the hit batters (hurt us),” Althauser said. “We were pitching from behind too often. They were getting into some good hitter’s counts early and busting the ball. We just put ourselves in bad spots.”
The bad spots came early.
The Warriors (19-6) took a 2-0 lead in the first after a hit batter, walk, passed ball and RBI single by Andrew Dreier.
Dayton Christian scored five runs on four hits in the second and were aided by two walks. Anna battled back in the bottom half, though.
Jared Siegle opened the second with a single to third base, then Carter Elliott followed with a single to left field on a hard grounder. Wil Luthman then brought in a run with a single to right field. White added a 3-RBI double to right field, Endsley hit a 1-RBI double to left field and Stiefel hit an RBI-double to center field to bring Anna within 7-6.
Dayton Christian pulled out to a 10-6 lead after the top of the fourth, but the Rockets pulled within 10-8 by the end of the inning.
After Matt Batson hit a hard single to left field to score a run and put the Warriors up 11-8 in the fifth, Anna rallied in the bottom half.
Wil Luthman and Brandon Shannon hit singles and White was intentionally walked two batters later. With two outs, Endsley hit a one-hop single to center field to score two runs and pull the Rockets within 11-10.
The Warriors took advantage of three walks in the seventh and scored two runs. The Rockets got two runners on base in the seventh but couldn’t score.
Dayton Christian had seven hits and two errors, while Anna had 11 hits.
White was 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs for Anna while Endsley was 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs. Luthman and Shannon were each 2 for 4. White was charged with the loss. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs on three hits.
David Moyer and Dreirer were 2 for 3 for the Warriors. Dreier picked up the win on the mound after allowing four earned runs on 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Dayton Christian advances to face Bethel Tate at 5 p.m. on Friday at Brookville in a Div. III district final.