INDIANAPOLIS — The sixth-ranked New Palestine Dragons season came to a heartbreaking close on Saturday afternoon.
Up 2-0 through the first five innings during the Class 3A Sectional 26 semifinals, host Bishop Chatard rallied to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the sixth before winning in extra innings.
The Trojans scored the go ahead run in the top of the ninth to win 3-2.
The Dragons finish the year 19-7 and were runner-ups in the Hoosier Heritage Conference while remaining in the state’s top 10 rankings the entire season.
Against Bishop Chatard, the Dragons struck quickly with leadoff batter Nick Rusche reaching base and scored on Jacob Smith’s first-inning single.
The lead doubled in the bottom of the fifth for the Dragons as Jacob Garrison hit a bases-loaded RBI single to put New Palestine up 2-0.
The Dragons posted six hits overall with the Trojans recording seven.
Garrison was 2-for-3 at the plate for New Palestine. Smith, Rusche, Jacob Walker, and Keegan Watson each had a hit. Watson’s registered the Dragons’ lone extra-base hit with a double.
Garrison, Kyle Gardner and Watson combined to strikeout 11 Trojans as each surrendered an earned run.
Royals fall in sectional opener
The situation was far from ideal. Delayed due to rain in the days prior and resumed on Friday night, the Eastern Hancock Royals carried a 1-0 lead into the Class 2A Sectional 42 opener’s long-awaited conclusion.
The host Triton Central Tigers, however, returned reinvigorated, winning 4-1.
The Royals finish the season 12-13.
The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the fifth with a three-run frame before adding on another run in the seventh.
Eastern Hancock was limited to two hits while the Tigers had nine. The Royals’ hits went to Addison True and Levi Majority. True drove in the team’s lone run.
Clayton White suffered the tough loss, going 7.0 innings with five strikeouts.
Softball regionals set
The top-ranked New Palestine Dragons and the Eastern Hancock Royals will host their one-game regionals today. Greenfield-Central will be on the road at Lawrence North.
The Class 3A Dragons (27-2) welcome No. 4 Lebanon (21-4) in a rematch of last year’s regional championship. The Tigers won the 2016 regional title game and eventually went on to capture the 3A state championship.
New Palestine is riding a 19-game winning streak into the teams’ meeting today at 7 p.m.
No. 9 Eastern Hancock (20-6-1) will host Northeastern (21-5) for the 2A regional championship. The visiting Knights are ranked fourth in the state.
Their game will begin at 7 p.m.
Class 4A Greenfield-Central (22-6) travels to Lawrence North (15-12) for its regional title game at 7 p.m.
The Cougars are ranked 15th in the state and won their second sectional title in three years to reach the regional.