By Spenser Hanson/For the Daily Reporter
NEW PALESTINE — The 2017 postseason started much the same way as the 2016 postseason did for the Class 3A No. 1 New Palestine Dragons, as they defeated a game but overmatched Indianapolis Herron squad, 27-0.
With the win, the Dragons will move on to play Bishop Chatard in the semifinals. In the Dragons’ first postseason game last year, they defeated Indianapolis Marshall 20-0 before defeating Bishop Chatard in the next round.
“I had a plan for tonight that we would get our starters a few at bats and then put in our younger players,” Dragons head coach Ed Marcum said afterwards. “We got 20 kids into the game so that was good for us.”
The game started with the Dragons at bat, and in the first inning, the Dragons donated three outs to the Acheans. First, Abbey Davis was hit by a batted ball from Emily O’Connor, and after the lead had ballooned to 11-0, Marcum had his players leave their base early to be called out.
“I liked that we came out focused,” Marcum said. “Last year Herron had a good pitcher, and I wasn’t sure if she would be back this year or not. So we had to see what the level of competition was at first.”
Most of the softball played by New Palestine was station-to-station due to the lopsided nature of the affair, but Emily O’Connor furnished the big blast of the night, clearing the bases with a grand slam to center field in her second at-bat of the first inning. O’Connor would finish 3-3 with 6 RBI before the junior varsity players took the field.
Wild swings in competitiveness has potential to be difficult on teams, but Marcum wasn’t worried about that on Monday night.
“When you play travel ball you get used to playing different games at different speeds based on who you’re playing,” Marcum stated. “And I was pleased with how we looked tonight and we will work hard at practice tomorrow to get them prepared for a team like Chatard.”
The Dragons are scheduled to take the field in the second semifinal at home today at 7 p.m.
New Palestine 27, Indianapolis Herron 0
HR: Emily O’Connor (NP). 3B: Ashley Prange (NP) 2B: O’Connor, Abby Davis, Tete Hart (NP), Kaitlyn Ladd (HHS).
Notable: Emily O’Connor 3-3, GS, 6 RBI.