FORTVILLE — The New Palestine softball team has put together a nine-game win streak against some of the state’s best programs.
Mt. Vernon, at 1-7 and the Dragons’ foe Thursday, is not among Indiana’s elite. But the Marauders gave their Class 4A No. 5-ranked Hancock County rivals a stiff test.
The Dragons took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning before adding a pair of insurance runs to cap a Hoosier Heritage Conference 4-1 victory.
“I knew it would be a tough one,” New Palestine coach Ed Marcum said. “Doesn’t matter what the records are, Mt. Vernon always plays us tough. Mike (McGill) does a great job with them. And they battled. I thought their pitcher did a nice job of moving it around.”
Markie Wood doubled and Brittany Duncan singled to open the game for the Dragons (10-1, 2-0 HHC), and each came around to score. Issy Hoyt plated Wood with a base knock and Duncan scored on a Mt. Vernon infield error off the bat of Adie Lorsung to make it a 2-0 game.
With runners on the corners and one out, MV centerfielder Emily White caught a fly ball and then threw out Hoyt at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
But, thanks to a flawless defense backing them up, two runs was enough for Dragons hurlers Kaylin McMurray and Elisha Barker. McMurray started and allowed five hits in 5.2 innings before giving way to Barker with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth. Barker took the mound and induced a ground ball out to end the MV threat.
Ground balls were a theme on the night, with McMurray and Barker recording only one combined strikeout while letting the Dragons’ D do the job.