The New Palestine baseball team split a doubleheader with Yorktown Friday night. The Dragons were dominant in a 10-0 five-inning victory in the first game, but fell 5-4 in the second game, as the Tigers came back with a four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth.
In the opener, Jacob Hickman had a big game at the plate and Keegan Watson was dominant on the mound. Hickman went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double and three RBI.
Hickman had the Dragons’ first hit – and made it count with a long homer to lead off the third. It touched off a five-run inning that featured four extra-base hits. Cameron Pitzer followed with a double that just missed clearing the fence. After Nick Rusche reached on a dropped third strike, Colby Jenkins drove them both in with a triple. Jacob Smith followed with a line-drive two-run homer down the leftfield line to put NP up 5-0.
The Dragons followed with a four-run fourth that began with back-to-back doubles by Kyle Gardner and Hickman. NP loaded the bases with a walk to Pitzer and an infield hit by Rusche. Jenkins’ sacrifice fly drove in a run, a double-steal saw Pitzer swipe home and Rusche followed on a wild pitch to make it 9-0. Hickman drove in the game-ending run in the fifth.
On the mound, Watson struck out 11 in a five-inning complete game to improve to 3-0 on the season. He allowed two hits.
In the seond game, the Dragons fell behind 1-0 in the first, but quickly took the lead with a leadoff double by Tyler Martin and an RBI hit by Gardner. Jenkins hit a two-out RBI single to bring in Gardner. The Dragons had a chance to add more runs when they loaded the bases with none out in the third, but a popout, strikeout and groundout ended the threat.
The Dragons pushed the lead to 4-1 in the fifth with small ball. Smith led off with a hit, took second on Jack Walker’s sacrifice and scored on Martin’s RBI single. Martin took third on an error on the play and scored on a squeeze bunt by Gardner.
That gave the Dragons some cushion with a three-run lead and Gardner was cruising on the mound, retiring 12 straight headed into the sixth. But the top of the Tigers’ order led a rally. A leadoff single was followed by a grounder, but an error put two runners on for IU signee Cole Barr. He hit a three-run homer to left to tie the game. Elijah Spears followed with a double, and scored on a two-out single to left.
The Dragons had two runners on in the top of the seventh, but were unable to score.
Nick Rusche was 2-for-3, Jacob Smith 2-for-4 and Tyler Martin 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI to lead the offense in the second game. Gardner also drove in two runs and had a hit. Jenkins had a hit and an RBI as each team had eight hits in the contest.
The Dragons are next in action Monday at home against Whiteland. First pitch is 5:30 p.m.