Baseball (Varsity) New Palestine High School

Baseball drops semistate thriller

By Andrew Smith | Jun 8, 2024 4:30 PM


The New Palestine baseball team battled for 11 innings and nearly four hours Saturday, but Mooresville was able to push across the winning run in the bottom of the 11th to beat the Dragons 3-2 in the semistate semifinal at Mooresville. The Dragons finish their season 25-6, with a third consecutive Elite Eight appearance in Class 4A. The game was a pitcher's duel throughout, with runs and chances at a premium. The Dragons drew first blood in the third. The Dragons' patience at the plate paid off in the third. Mooresville's Hudson DeVaughn walked the bases loaded in the second but escaped on a groundout with two outs. In the third, he again walked the bases loaded with one out and was pulled for Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year Hogan Denny. Denny struck out the first batter he faced, but Wyatt Mathies followed and launched a long double off the leftfield fence, plating Jacob Morris and Jackson Kamp. A strikeout ended the threat with two runners in scoring position. The Dragons maintained the 2-0 lead as starter Michael Thorpe pitched around a lot of traffic. Mooresville's best early opportunity came in the second, when the Pioneers led off with back-to-back singles, but he induced three straight groundouts to end the threat. In the fourth, he pitched around a one-out double. In the fifth, the Pioneers got a leadoff single, but was thrown out trying to steal second. Meanwhile, Denny held the Dragons' bats quite, only allowing one baserunner after Mathies' double through the next three innings - a one-out single by Kamp in the fifth. He fanned 17 batters in a 7 2/3 inning relief appearance, his longest outing of the year. Mooresville finally broke through in the sixth. Denny led off with a walk and his brother Tyler Denny followed with a single. Thorpe struck out the next two batters and looked to be on his way to getting out of the inning, but Bryce Brabender hit a pitch off the centerfield fence for a two-run triple to tie the game. Thorpe struck out the next batter to end the threat and keep the game even. The Dragons had an opportunity to score in the seventh when Adam Rickey led off with a double and went to third on a wild pitch. But Denny recorded back-to-back strikeouts, the second on an unsuccessful squeeze play that led to the runner being thrown out at third to end the inning. Mooresville put the leadoff runner on in the bottom of the seventh, but stranded him at third as Thorpe recorded two strikeouts. The Dragons were set down in order in the eighth and ninth by Denny, while Thorpe shut down the Pioneers in the eight. He hit his pitch limit, so Jacob Morris came on in the ninth and retired the Pioneers in order. The Dragons staged a two-out rally in the 10th against Denny. After the first two batters struck out, Morris lined a sharp single to center. Kamp followed by doubling into the right-centerfield gap. With runners on second and third, Denny recorded a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch the Dragons disputed to retire the side. Morris again limited the Pioneers in the 11th, as a leadoff walk was erased by Kamp throwing out a would-be base-stealer. In the top of the 11th, the dragons threated and Ben Hirschy and Gavin Neal both walked - the first chasing Denny, as he hit his pitch limit. With two runners on, a foulout ended the threat. Morris struck out the first batter in the bottom of the inning, but Braebender followed with a sharp single to center. A walk moved him into scoring position and both runners moved up on a double-steal. After another walk loaded the bases, Liam Delp hit a 2-0 pitch up the middle for the game-winning hit. Brendin Oliver (11-0) earned the win for Mooresville with an inning of relief. Morris (5-3) took a hard-luck loss, as he pitched well in 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. Thorpe was tremendous against one of the state's top lineups, scattering six hits and two earned runs in eight innings, striking out 11 Pioneers. Mooresville's three pitchers struck out 24 Dragons and allowed five hits. Kamp was 2-for-4 with a double and a run. Morris was 1-for-4 with a run. Rickey was 1-for-6 with a double. Mathies was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.