The Whiteland baseball team’s magic ran out Saturday evening at the Class 4A Evansville Reitz Regional. Barely.
Undisputed underdogs in the four-team field, the unranked Warriors earned a dramatic semifinal win and nearly conjured an upset in the final.
Whiteland’s improbable run ended in the championship game with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss against Castle.
Whiteland loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, and with two outs, sophomore second baseman Caleb Dieter hit a line drive to right, but was robbed of a go-ahead hit with a sprawling catch by the Castle defender, ending the game.
Earlier Saturday, however, Whiteland pulled off an upset with a thrilling 5-4 win against Jeffersonville on a two-out walk-off home run in the seventh inning by Austin Browning.
The blast ended Jeffersonville’s season at 21-8.
Whiteland coach Scott Sherry said as disappointed as the team was not to win its final game, it will be able to walk away with the recognition it achieved something significant.
Finishing at 12-18, Whiteland was the only team in the regional field with a losing record.
“I think they were pretty in touch with having done something special,” he said. “We talked about how Whiteland has only had two regional wins in its history. They competed and played hard and realized what they can do. They played their hearts out.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of the group. This was a total team effort.”
As in its sectional win earlier in the week, Whiteland got a strong 1-2 pitching effort from seniors Jared Adkins and Codey Stewart. Adkins pitched a complete game victory in the semifinal, with Stewart pitching out of several jams in the final.
Castle left 11 runners on base for the contest.
“They both pitched really well,” Sherry said. “(Castle) got some guys on and Codey seemed to just keep leaving them out there all game.”
Castle moves onto the semistate with a 25-9 record.