NEW PALESTINE — Ed Marcum still remembers the sour taste in his mouth. After suffering a one-run defeat to Class 4A softball powerhouse Center Grove in last season’s sectional title game, Marcum and New Palestine had one goal atop its list this season — to make it back.
Now in Class 3A, the No. 1 Dragons proved worthy of their top ranking and cruised past the first obstacle on its mission Tuesday with a 20-0 five-inning rout of Indianapolis Marshall.
And they did so with class.
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Abbey White (6-0) finished with five strikeouts and the win against a Patriots’ roster fill with eight sophomores, a freshman and one senior. Mackenzie Jones took over in the third inning while Lexi Cook threw in the fifth.
White also led the offense with three RBIs after a 2-for-2 effort at the plate. She hit a triple in the second inning.
“That was fun. I am really proud of how my players and parents responded,” New Palestine head coach Ed Marcum said of the program’s attitudes in a blowout win. “We had fun, they had fun; it was true sportsmanship on each side.”
Marshall, which has only been playing since April, was held without a hit but managed two base runners.
“Super classy; they felt sort of awkward with all the people in the stands,” Patriots head coach Justin Flanegan said. “… This is the most sportsmanship like team we’ve ever faced. The best fans we’ve ever met.
“The girls didn’t want to leave, because they had such a good time.”
After the game, both teams were spotted dancing together at home plate.
The Dragons (23-2) now move on to play Bishop Chatard, which defeated Herron 15-1 in the first semifinal on Tuesday, today at 6 p.m. for the Sectional 26 championship.
New Palestine, which had five players finish with 20 or more RBIs this season, had 14 players record an RBI on Tuesday.
White struck out two Patriots in the top half of the first inning and followed with three in the second.
New Palestine then took a commanding 8-0 lead in the bottom half of the first with the help of 10 walks. White added an RBI single in the inning while eight different players recorded an RBI, as well.
The Dragons scored four more times in the second frame and seven in the third after Mary Crumlin blasted a double to the left-center field wall.
Mackenzie Jones and Amanda Barnes also doubled in the win.
Bishop Chatard and Herron each scored 16 runs on the opening night of tournament play in wins against Brebeuf Jesuit and Indianapolis Emmerich Manual, respectively.
Last season, Bishop Chatard topped Herron 20-0 for the Sectional 26 title.
“The sectional is certainly different this year, but we have to make sure we’re ready,” Marcum said. “We will have to play well against Chatard.”
New Palestine 20, Indianapolis Marshall 0
NPHS (23-2);847;1xx;x; – ;20;9;0
IMHS;000;00x;x; – ;0;0;0
WP: Abbey White (6-0) LP: Leshelle Driver.
RBI: Barker, Morey, Davis, White 3, Widmann, Lehman, Hoyt, Kropp, Long, Cook, Jones, Crumlin 2, O’Connor 2, Barnes 2 (NP).
2B: Jones, Crumlin, Barnes (NP).
3B: White (NP).
NPHS: White 2-2 3 RBIs, Jones double, Crumlin double 2 RBIs, Barnes double.