Daily Reporter Correspondent
NEW CASTLE — On an evening in which New Palestine softball coach Ed Marcum was coaching in front of his New Castle-area extended family, his offensive powerhouse softball Dragons did the Marcum clan proud.
One night after putting up 24 runs against Warren Central, the Class 4A No. 6 New Palestine Dragons put up 16 more runs in five innings to win 16-2 against a New Castle team that made the semistate round of the state tournament in 2014.
The Dragons (3-0, 1-0 Hoosier Heritage Conference) have outscored their foes 53-3.
After leading only 2-1 after the first inning, it seemed as if the Dragons could face a stiff test from the Trojans, but the third and fourth innings put any thoughts of that nature to rest in the conference opener.
“We were patient offensively at the beginning, and we did a really nice job of hitting the ball hard,” New Palestine coach Ed Marcum said after talking to various cousins and other kin.
To lead off the third inning, Adie Lorsung (3-for-4, home run, three RBI) and Ashley Prange (2-for-4, home run, two RBI) hit back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches to left-center field. And, after Abby Davis drove in Mary Crumlin with her second double of the night, New Palestine took a 7-1 lead into the fourth inning.
In the fourth inning, eight of nine members of the New Palestine lineup scored, and speedster Brittany Duncan scored twice; Duncan finished the game 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a triple.
“It was one of those deals where after hitting the ball hard, they had to play us deeper and then we got some line drives and short stuff that fell in,” Marcum said.
The big fourth inning allowed Marcum to pull senior starter Kaitlyn McMurray for sophomore reliever Elisha Barker. McMurray overcame three first-inning walks. In the second and third innings, McMurray allowed only one base runner. She finished with three innings pitched, one hit, and four walks.
“Kaitlyn seemed a little tight at the beginning,” Marcum said after the game. “She did a nice job of battling through the wind.”
Barker came in to retire six of the eight batters she faced to secure the victory for the Dragons once the 10-run rule ended the game after five innings.
“Elisha’s been coming in and closing games for us,” Marcum said. “We’ve never really done it that way before (this season), but it’s really working well for us.”
New Palestine is off until Monday, when it begins a stretch of games against three Class 4A ranked teams in 14th-ranked Roncalli, fifth-ranked Franklin Central and 2nd-ranked Hamilton Southeastern.