HOUSTON — Houston and Anna were each looking for an early-season Shelby County Athletic League victory on Thursday. The Rockets calmed down after a slow start and took advantage of errors to pull away late.
Anna scored six runs in the fourth and five in the seventh to beat the Wildcats 12-2 in Houston. The Rockets improved to 2-4 overall and 2-2 in SCAL play, while Houston dropped to 1-3 and 1-1, respectively.
Both squads have several underclassmen on their rosters, and one picked up the victory on the mound. After struggling in the first inning, Anna sophomore pitcher Aiden Keller recovered. He pitched six innings and gave up three hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters.
Both of Houston’s runs were unearned and came in the first inning.
Rusty Vondenhuevel led the Wildcats off with a line-drive single to right field, then Zavier Ludwig was hit by a pitch. Keller struck out Luke Beaver and then Jeffrey Leist, but Leist reached first on a dropped third strike, and Vondenhuevel scored on the same play. Reagan Steiner then had a sacrifice bunt along the third-base line to drive in Ludwig and push the lead to 2-0.
But Keller settled down and only gave up two hits in the next five innings, and Anna started to hit.
Beaver retired Anna in order in the first, but the Wildcats committed two errors in the second, and Anna was able to score one run to pull within 2-1.
The Rockets then pulled away in the fourth.
Colin Elliott led off the inning with a line-drive triple to right field, then Keller hit a line-drive single to right to drive home Elliott and tie the score.
Clay Cummins then hit a ground ball to first and reached on an error, which allowed Keller to score and give the Rockets a 3-2 lead.
Caleb Kenton then was hit by a pitch, and Noah Aufderhaar then hit a bunt single along the third-base line to load the bases.
Beaver struck out the two batters, but Zach Osborn then hit a ground ball back up the first-base line, which Beaver ran to. He grabbed the ball and attempted to tag Osborn but missed, allowing Cummins to score on the error and push the lead to 4-2.
Carter Seigle then hit a line-drive single to center that drove in three runs to push the lead to 7-2.
The Rockets scored five more runs in the seventh on three hits and two walks. Cummins had a double in the inning.
The Rockets had seven hits and committed one error while Houston had three hits and committed six errors.
Elliott was 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and one walk. Cummins and Aufderhaar were each 1 for 3 with one walk.
Beaver picked up the loss on the mound. He pitched four innings and gave up one earned run on four hits while striking out six batters.
Steiner was 1 for 2 with 1 RBI.
Anna is scheduled to host Russia (4-0, 2-0) on Monday. Houston is scheduled to travel to Bradford for a doubleheader on Saturday and will resume SCAL play on Monday by hosting Botkins (2-3, 1-2).
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.