PENDLETON — While some of the big guns for top-ranked Class 3A New Palestine were quiet for much of the game, the bottom of the order picked up the slack and paced the Dragons to a ninth consecutive win.
Tatum Biddle and Kaylee Kropp each drove in three runs to support the complete-game pitching of Elisha Barker as New Palestine beat Pendleton Heights 13-3 in a game shortened to six innings due to run rule.
With the win, New Palestine improves to 17-2 on the year, including 5-0 in Hoosier Heritage Conference play. The Arabians fall to 13-7 and 1-1.
The Dragons scored eight runs in the sixth inning to break open a close 5-3 game. The inning was capped by a three-run double by Kropp, hitting ninth in the order for New Palestine.
“That was cool,” New Palestine head coach Ed Marcum said. “Kropp comes up with the bases loaded there and just smokes one. That was good to see from one of our senior leaders.”
The Arabians had runners in scoring position in every inning but were only able to break through in the fourth with three runs. Barker, who also homered in the game, survived nine hits and four walks to allow just the three earned runs to Pendleton Heights. Marcum was pleased with the effort on a chilly and rainy evening.
“Elisha, with these weather conditions, stayed in it,” Marcum said. “I thought she did a nice job. We missed some opportunities and let them back in it. But I’m really proud of the girls. It was 5-3 there, but we went to work and were much more patient at the plate.”
The Dragons won despite quiet games from Ashley Prange and Emily O’Connor. They each had RBI doubles in the big sixth inning but were held in check by Arabian starter Audrey Ricker, something that is good experience for the Dragons going forward.
“It’s good to see that, when we have these type of games, other kids step up,” Marcum said. “I thought Tatum Biddle had a huge hit in the first inning. She had a great game.”
The Dragons have another conference clash Thursday when they host Greenfield-Central at 5:30 p.m.
“That’s one of our goals every year is to win the conference,” Marcum said. “One of the best ways to win the conference is to go undefeated. Big one tomorrow, if the weather cooperates. Greenfield is playing well.”
New Palestine 13, Pendleton Heights 3
WP: Barker LP: Ricker
HR: Barker (NP). 2B: Prange, O’Connor (NP); Longere (PH)
RBIs: Crumlin, Biddle 3, Barker 2, Davis 2, Prange, O’Connor, Kropp 3 (NP); Closser 2, Longere (PH)
Notables: Hawhee 3-3, R, SB (PH); Biddle 3-4, R, 3 RBI, O’Connor NP 3-5, 2 R, RBI, Kropp 2-3, R, 3 RBI (NP)