WHITELAND — The biggest hit of New Palestine’s season almost didn’t happen. In the top of the seventh inning with no outs recorded, Jacob Barnes stepped into the batter’s box with his team trailing 3-2. Alex Rejer and Brian Page had singled and walked, respectively, to begin the frame and most assumed NP head coach Shawn Lyons was going to ask Barnes to bunt the runners over.
A break in the action occurred, so Barnes walked to meet Lyons (also the third-base coach) halfway down the third base line. The conversation went like this:
Lyons: “I’m going to give you one pitch then I might have you lay one down.”
Barnes: “Coach, I’m 2-for-3. I’ll hit this stuff.”
Lyons: “All right, we won’t bunt you then.”
Barnes actually sold himself short — he was 3-for-3 to that point against Greenwood starter Tylor Martin. He notched an RBI single in the first and doubled in the third and fifth innings. But the trust between the two was evident, mostly because Lyons knew Barnes would wait for his pitch.
The senior catcher/designated hitter fell behind in the count 1-2, but drew another ball and fouled off two pitches, biding his time to wait for the pitch he’d hit off Martin all day: the hanging curveball.