NEW PALESTINE — Five wins into its postseason climb, the New Palestine baseball team has one more hill to scale to earn a spot in the State Finals.
Make that one more mountain.
The Dragons will take on Gibson Southern and its 275-pound ace Saturday in the Class 3A semistate at Plainfield at 1 p.m.
Dillon Whitten, a six-foot-4 senior right-hander who tipped the scales at 300 pounds before dropping some weight prior to his final prep campaign, is scheduled to take the mound for the Titans (26-7).
“(Whitten) reminds me a little of the Lebanon pitcher with their velocity,” New Palestine coach Shawn Lyons said. “The difference is this kid, he’s a big kid. He’s a senior, so he’s a little more tested.
“They rode him through the regional and the sectional. So it’s going to be a pretty good challenge for us.”
Lebanon sophomore Reid Schaller, a Vanderbilt commit and one of the state’s highest-ranked prospects, took on the Dragons (23-9) in the regional opener Saturday at Crawfordsville. But the lanky Schaller and his low-90s fastball didn’t make it out of the fifth inning against the New Palestine lineup.
The Dragons, who swept through three opponents with relative ease to win a sectional title, beat Lebanon 6-4 Saturday afternoon in the regional semifinal, then blanked Edgewood 4-0 in the championship.
Saturday is a one-game semistate, with the winner advancing to the State Finals, either next Friday or Saturday at Victory Field in Indianapolis.
Andrean (29-4) and Ft. Wayne Bishop Dwenger (19-11) will battle in the other 3A semistate this weekend, Saturday at Plymouth.