FORT WAYNE – Having her father as coach has definitely helped senior Anna Schillinger, and apparently its pretty good for the Concordia softball program as well.
Schillinger has been under the tutelage of her father, Jerry Schillinger, since she was 6 and has grown into an All-SAC first-team pitcher who had 15 wins and 150 strikeouts last year.
The Cadets, who were 68-42 in Jerrys first four seasons, have climbed from 14 wins to 20 to 22 over the last three years.
Its a really good feeling, Anna said of the increasing wins. My freshman year, we were decent, but we have gotten better because we have been playing together and we have all gotten used to each other.
And its obviously helped having Anna on the mound for four years. Anna will leave Concordia with school records for wins, strikeouts and home runs and head to Southeastern University, an NAIA school in Lakeland, Fla., to play college softball.
She loves the game and especially the time with her teammates, Jerry said.
Concordia won the SAC championship last year but fell to Leo 1-0 in the sectional. With a good number of returning players, the goal is higher this year.
Our team is very focused and determined this year to get through sectionals and hopefully to state, Jerry said. We have a tight group of players at Concordia, some of whom have played together year-round for eight years.
The Cadets have lofty hopes despite the fact Concordia has never won a sectional championship.
This year is the year to do it because we are going to lose some seniors, Anna said.
If we want to win state, this is definitely the year to do it.
Jerrys influence has helped Anna (1-0) become one of the top pitchers in northeast Indiana and a true leader. She was 15-6 last year with a 1.20 ERA.
I like being in control, Anna said of being a pitcher. The whole team is involved but if your attitude is bad it spreads to the whole field. It is up to me to be a leader and have a good attitude so everyone else does.
It has changed a lot just because it gets more competitive. Playing all these years, you just gradually get better. It is never a huge step, so you just move to the next level and always get better.
Anna has gotten used to having her dad as a coach and sees the Cadets program developing into another family.
If a player gets mad at my dad, I feel bad and that kind of stuff but I dont really mind it at all, she said. I feel comfortable with it. I dont even think about it anymore. Everything is a lot easier because we are like a family.