No drowning out these Dragons

NEW PALESTINE — Rain washed out most prep softball action across the area Thursday night. But with its well-draining field, New Palestine agreed to host Warren Central after the Warriors deemed conditions too soggy at their own stadium, the originally scheduled site.

It’s easy to see why the Dragons were eager to see live pitching.

Behind a pair of three-run home runs and 24 total hits, Class 4A No. 6 New Palestine beat Warren Central 24-1 in five innings. The rout followed the Dragons’ season-opening 13-0 victory against Southport on Tuesday.

Last spring, New Palestine needed eight innings to get past Southport, and it beat the Warriors 4-0.

“I think we’re better than we were a year ago,” New Palestine coach Ed Marcum said. “We had a great winter of work. The girls got a lot of camaraderie, a lot of togetherness. They’ve done a nice job in the weight room. And, I just think they’ve got a lot of confidence going right now.

“They’re anxious to play. So, I really appreciate Warren coming over here so we could get a game in.”

A focused plate approach set up the early New Palestine outburst Thursday.

With two outs in the first inning, Issy Hoyt and Adie Lorsung battled for back-to-back walks, to bring Ashley Prange to the plate. The New Palestine freshman blasted her first career home run, a line drive to left field that made it a 3-0 game.

Three more walks followed in the Dragons’ seven-run second inning, which was highlighted by Abby O’Connor’s three-run homer.

Warren Central hurler Kim Wrightsman wasn’t especially wild, but she couldn’t get the New Palestine hitters to chase anything but a grooved delivery. The Dragons suffered only one strikeout in 46 trips to the plate against three Warren Central pitchers.

“That’s been something we’ve been talking about, just being more disciplined, making sure that we’re swinging at our pitches,” Marcum said. “It’s easy to get anxious, especially later on a game.

“But I thought everybody did a nice job of staying patient. And we just kept hitting all the way through. Every person I brought off the bench came through with big hits, too. I was really excited about the depth we showed tonight.”

Lorsung finished with six RBIs on a 4-for-4 effort. Prange had four RBIs and Hoyt collected two doubles before Marcum pulled most of the starters in the third and fourth innings. Mary Crumlin and Kaylee Kropp scored four runs each. Overall, 16 Dragons got at-bats, and they all had at least one hit.

On the mound, New Palestine’s Kaylin McMurray (2-0), Elisha Barker and Mac Jones combined for five innings of one-hit softball. The Warriors (0-2) scored one unearned run on a New Palestine infield error in the first inning.

The Dragons travel to Class 4A No. 15 New Castle (3-1) today in a Hoosier Heritage Conference tilt. The Trojans, who lost to Connersville 9-7 on Monday, made it to semistate a year ago, falling to eventual state champ Bloomington South.

“They had a great run last year,” Marcum said. “So, we’re expecting a tough matchup. Hopefully, we can keep playing like we have been.”