NEW PALESTINE — It was quite the task for a freshman. Facing the top-ranked team in Class 3A is a tall order for any opposing pitcher, let alone a rookie at the varsity level. However, Eastern Hancock freshman Jessie Potts and the Royals will be better from their experience Friday.
Potts and Eastern Hancock, like several other teams this season, fell victim to New Palestine’s explosive offense. The No. 1 Dragons scored 12 runs in a big third inning and ran away with a 19-0 win against the Class 2A No. 7 Royals.
New Palestine, which finished with 16 hits, tallied 11 base knocks in the third frame en route to its second consecutive victory after a two-run loss to Zionsville Wednesday.
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Senior Mary Crumlin led the Dragons (10-2) at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort and finished with seven RBIs. After a slump at the beginning of the season, it is safe to say the veteran first baseman has worked her way out. Crumlin has collected 10 RBIs the last two games and now has 16 this season.
“I am not really thinking as much (at the plate),” Crumlin said, who is committed to Marian University. “Earlier in the year I was telling myself to do more, and now I am up at the plate just swinging.
“Over the offseason, I was at the gym and would hit with my dad every day.”
Each team entered the game with five starters hitting over .400 this season. Eastern Hancock (8-3) struggled to get much out of the infield against New Palestine junior pitcher Mackenzie Jones (3-0), though, who threw three scoreless innings and was awarded the win.
Freshman Paige Wickard and sophomore Eriel Truitt registered the only base hits for the Royals on Friday. Wichard finished with 1-for-2 with a single, while Truitt hit a double to the fence in the fifth inning.
Jones opened the game with back-to-back strikeouts and later got out of the inning with a pop up after hitting Eastern Hancock senior Brooke Walden.
After a lead-off out from Dragons’ senior Abby Davis, junior Ashley Prange, who did not see much over the plate against the Royals, ripped a single past third base. Sophomore Emily O’Connor brought Prange home with an RBI double to center field, giving New Palestine a 1-0 lead.
Following another RBI double, this one from freshman Michaela Jones, Crumlin brought home two more runs for the home team with a single. She was tagged out at second base to end the inning with New Palestine leading 4-0.
Both teams went scoreless in the second inning before the Dragons’ bats caught fire. O’Connor started the inning with a solo homer run and was followed by 10 base hits. New Palestine batted around its order more than twice and had multiple hits from Crumlin and sophomore Emma Tucher in the inning.
“When the first batter gets on base for us, everyone feeds off it,” Crumlin said. “Our hitting is our key — and then our defense of course.”
Davis would finish the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while O’Connor was 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs.
The Dragons, which committed one error in the win, added three runs in the fourth inning and had 11 players finish with a base hit.
New Palestine plays again today at Indianapolis Scecina, while Eastern Hancock travels to Lawrence North.
New Palestine 19, Eastern Hancock 0
WP: Ma. Jones (3-0). LP: Potts (EH).
RBI: O’Connor 3, Mi. Jones, Crumlin 7, Davis 3, Biddle 2, Kropp, Tucher (NP). 2B: O’Connor, Mi. Jones, Crumlin (NP). Truitt (EH). HR: O’Connor (NP).
NP: Crumlin 3-4, seven RBIs; Davis 2-3, three RBIs; O’Connor home run, double, three RBIs; Biddle two RBIs; Tucher 2-4, RBI; Mi. Jones 2-3, double, RBI.
EH: Wickard 1-2, single; Truitt 1-2, double.