NEW PALESTINE — A week ago, New Palestine had plenty of questions about its pitching staff.
The Dragons found the answers Friday night.
NP (6-3) swept New Castle 8-6, 9-0 Friday night, getting a combined no-hitter from Evan Vance and Cameron Clark in the second game to cap off a 4-0 week following a tough sweep at the hands of Greenfield-Central April 11. The red and white topped Perry Meridian 9-8 Monday and blanked common Sectional 26 foe Guerin Catholic 3-0 Wednesday.
“We didn’t play well in the two wins we had Monday and Wednesday, (but) we had a great practice last night, probably our best outdoor practice of the year,” NP coach Shawn Lyons said. “The kids worked hard last night and it carried over tonight against an outstanding New Castle team.”
The combined no-no by Vance and Clark was the program’s first no-hitter since Casey Bussell threw one in 2010.
Vance got the start and went 5 and 1/3 innings, allowing two walks and hitting three batters. He struck out seven. Lyons came out to get Vance after an error, a walk and a hit batsman loaded the bases for New Castle in the bottom of the sixth. Cameron Clark came on to fan the next two batters, then worked around a 1-out walk in the seventh.
The Dragon defense aided their mound mates in the effort, especially shortstop Nick Butcher, whose field awareness in the fourth resulted in a 2-6-3 putout instead of an infield single. Butcher also ran down a chopper behind second base for a 6-3 putout to end the game.
Lyons had the big picture in mind when he decided to pull Vance.