The New Palestine baseball team started the day with a four-run first inning, propelling it to a 4-3 victory over Delta in the opening game of Friday’s doubleheader.
In the nightcap, the Dragons took an early lead and tied the game on three different occasions, but fell 5-4 to split the twinbill.
The Dragons are now 11-8 on the season and 6-4 in HHC play, two games back of the conference lead with four games to play.
In the opener, the Dragons got a strong pitching performance from senior Jack Walker (3-2), who struck out 13 Eagles over six innings, allowing two runs and five hits. He struck out three batters in the opening inning and then fanned two batters in each of the following five frames. Delta left runners in scoring position in the first and fourth and tallied two runs on two hits in the sixth. The Eagles had the bases loaded when Walker fanned the Delta leadoff hitter to get out of the frame.
NP built a 4-0 lead right away, with six of the first seven Dragon hitters reaching base. Jenkins singled and was doubled to third by Jack Walker. Noah Mack drove in both with a base hit to left. Eric Roudebush later walked and Jacob Bain singled to load the bases. A walk to Aven Jones forced in the third run, while Grant Hickman’s sacrifice fly brought home the fourth.
NP had two baserunners on in each the third and fourth innings, but the Eagles’ pitching was able to wiggle out of the jams, allowing five hits after the first inning. Hickman came on in the seventh and nailed down the save.
Walker was 2-for-3 in the contest. Mack was also 2-for-3 with two RBI. Bain, Jones, Jenkins, Roudebush and Grant Wiegand had the Dragons’ other hits.
In the nightcap, the Dragons took an early 1-0 lead when Wiegand walked and scored from first on Walker’s double to the right-centerfield gap. But Delta answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning and answered every NP run thereafter to beat the Dragons 5-4.
The Dragons added a run in the third on a walk to Wiegand, who scored on Mack’s sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Zach Neligh led off with a single. Henry Giesler forced him at second, but Jenkins followed with an RBI double to again tie the game at 3-3. Delta answered both with single runs, scoring in the third off a balk and the fourth on a suicide squeeze, to take a 4-3 edge.
Again, the Dragons tied the game in the sixth. Neligh hit a one-out single and moved into scoring position on an infield hit by Jenkins. Wiegand then laced a single into center to plate Neligh with the tying run, but an out on the basepaths ended the threat. Delta responded with its second unearned run of the game, with a one-out error and a wild pitch putting a runner in scoring position for Tyler Gilland, whose single to center plated the go-ahead run.
Jaden Jaques took the decision for NP, allowing two hits and one unearned run in one inning. Neligh allowed three earned runs, seven hits and struck out four through five innings of work.
Jenkins led the offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Neligh was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Wiegand was 1-for-2 with two runs and an RBI. Walker was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Roudebush, Giesler and Hickman were all 1-for-3.
The Dragons next play Tuesday at home against defending state champion Fishers.