ANNA — Versailles continued a recent trend of coming out flat on Saturday as the Tigers lost 5-2 to Anna in a non-conference baseball game, their fourth loss in the last six games.
Versailles baseball coach Ryan Schlater was disappointed in his team’s performance against Anna and of its play the past week as the Tigers’ season record fell to 7-7.
In a six-game stretch beginning with a doubleheader April 19 at Fort Loramie, Versailles won two games and lost four. In the first three innings of those four losses, the Tigers have one run combined.
“We’ll wait until the fourth, fifth inning to get anything started right now,” Schlater said. “I think that’s probably the past five or six games that we’ve waited until the fourth inning to really put anything up on the board. We’ve just got to come out from the beginning of the game and get some runs up on there and come up ready to play. I don’t think we were ready to play today.”
Versailles had a base runner in each of the first three innings on Saturday with Mitch Gigandet reaching on an error in the first inning, Derek Borhorst singling in the second inning and Gigandet singling in the second inning. But the Tigers were unable to convert on any of the scoring opportunities.
“We came out flat from the beginning,” Schlater said. “Some of the situations we had, we got guys on second base with one out, no outs, first few innings. We just could do anything after that. They’re not going up there and knowing the situation.”
While Versailles was unable to put together a rally early in the game, Anna had a big inning in the second frame that ultimately was too much for the Tigers to overcome.
The Rockets loaded the bases as Ryan Counts and Luke Albers hit hard singles and then Kain Luthman laid down a bunt single. With the bases juiced and no outs, Evan Romie and Zach Zimpfer were hit by pitches to force in two runs, giving Anna a 2-0 lead.
Anna increased its lead to 3-0 as Nick Doseck hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Then after a Carter Bensman sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch allowed Romie to score for a 4-0 Anna lead before Brett McEldowney recorded a strikeout to get out of the inning.
“In that situation we just have to damage control,” Schlater said. “Bases loaded, no outs. You know, get that good pitch, get a double play, work out of that inning. But we let some mistakes get to us, not being in the right spot with some bunts. Just have to overcome those kind of mistakes.”
It got worse for Versailles before it got better as Anna added another run in the fourth inning.
Romie and Zimpfer reached on back-to-back errors to lead off the inning, which set up a groundout by Doseck that brought in another run for a 5-0 Rocket lead.
Versailles started to chip away at the deficit in the fifth inning as Borhorst was hit by a pitch. Jared Heitkamp then put down a sacrifice bunt, and with aggressive base running Borhorst advanced all the way to third base. A groundout by Jake Wenning then drove in Borhorst to cut the deficit to 5-1.
Versailles’ biggest scoring opportunity came in the sixth inning with a two-out rally.
Mike Davidson drew a two-out walk, and Jace Barga reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Dan Borchers then drove in Davidson with a double to left, cutting the deficit to 5-2 and giving the Tigers two runners in scoring position.
The rally was halted, however, when Borhorst hit a grounder to short and was called out on a close play at first base for the third out of the inning.
“It’s going to happen,” Schlater said. “It’s baseball. You can’t count on everybody to make the right calls and that. But if that one play goes the right way, we’re down by one run and ready to go into that last inning. But it kind of makes it hard to score three runs when the wind’s blowing in your face and tough day to hit the ball.”
Versailles had three hits and four errors on the day. Anna had four hits and two errors.
McEldowney was charged with the loss as he gave up four earned runs and one unearned run on four hits, one walk, two hit batters and five strikeouts.
Borchers was 1-for-3 with a RBI for Versailles. Borhorst was 1-for-2 with a run scored, and Gigandet was 1-for-4. Wenning drove in a run, and Davidson scored a run.