Jake Garrison’s one-out double off the fence plated two runs and gave the New Palestine baseball team a dramatic 4-3 victory over Lawrence North Thursday at the Warren Central sectional.
The Dragons (22-6) advance to Monday’s sectional championship game to face Cathedral, a 5-4 winner over Warren Central in the second game. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
LN took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh on a base hit with two on, but pitcher Cameron Pitzer limited the Wildcats to one run. In the bottom of the inning, Nick Rusche drew a one-out walk, chasing LN’s starter. Colby Jenkins was hit by a pitch, and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. The Wildcats intentionally walked Jack Walker to load the bases, setting the stage for Garrison’s heroics.
Garrison hit a first-pitch rocket to the fence in left-center to plate Rusche and Jenkins with the tying and winning runs to seal the victory.
Pitzer (2-2) got the win in relief of Walker, allowing three hits and one earned run in 1 2/3 innings. Walker allowed two hits, two runs and struck out six in 5 1/3 innings.
NP jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, as Rusche reached on an error and scored on Jenkins’ single. Jenkins came home with the second run on a wild pitch. The Dragons sent eight batters to the plate and left the bases loaded in the first, but held the lead until the late innings.
LN scored its first run after two walks and an RBI single in the third. Walker pitched around back-to-back walks to lead off the fifth, inducing a 1-6-3 doubleplay to end the frame. The Wildcats tied the game after a walk and a throwing error in the sixth. The Wildcats took the lead in the seventh, leading off with back-to-back singles. A one-out RBI single gave LN the lead and runners on the corners. Pitzer struck out the next batter, then induced a groundout to keep the deficit at one and set the stage for the walk-off heroics.
The Dragons outhit LN 7-5, with Walker going 2-for-3. Jenkins, Jacob Bain, Luke Greene and Grant Wiegand also had singles, and Garrison the walk-off double.
The Dragons will be seeking the 17th sectional title in program history, and the first since 2015, when they take the field Monday. New Pal Radio will broadcast the title game.