PLAINFIELD — A special blend of magic and talent is required reach the state final four.
Anyone associated with New Palestine baseball, a program that has reached the semistate round three times in the past five years, knows this all too well.
Saturday at the Class 3A Plainfield Semistate, the Dragons dominated Gibson Southern for a sizable chunk of the contest before their charm ran out – and the Titans were there to seize the day and keep their state championship dreams alive.
No. 9 Gibson Southern (27-7) rallied past NP (23-10) for an 8-5 victory Saturday, punching its ticket to the State Finals by scoring six runs in its final two at-bats. The Titans’ reward is a trip to their first-ever state title game against 3A’s top-ranked team, Andrean (30-4), 7 p.m. Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
“Got our hands full, I’m sure. Sounds like they’ve been good all year. They’re the No. 1 team,” Gibson Southern coach Chris May said of Andrean, which owns three 3A state championships (2005, 2009-10). “We got beat by the No. 1 team, Jasper, last year in the regional finals.
“So, we’ll go up there and give them our best and hopefully (starting pitcher) Dillon (Whitten) will have his rest. And maybe this was his off game and he’ll shut them down. But I know we’ve got a Herculean task waiting for us.”