Key cog on NP's state champion baseball team co-owns thriving gun shop



Photos:


The Highsmiths (from left to right) Cheryl, Sarah, Shane and Mark after New Palestine won the 2004 Class 3A state championship. Shane, a sophomore at the time, was NP's starting third baseman.


While their playing days might be over, the lessons Hancock County’s community leaders learned on the sports fields continue to guide them today. In this week-long series, we look back on the positive effect athletics had on their lives.

NEW PALESTINE — The baseball talent factory that is New Palestine stretches back decades. Each year, a successful Dragon squad will inevitably be lined with players who spent their youth as teammates dotting the diamonds at various area ballparks.

This was true of the 2014 squad – which qualified for the program’s second semistate in three years – and it was also true 10 years ago, when sophomore Shane Highsmith and his gifted group of classmates guided NP to its only baseball state championship.

Highsmith recalls making an 8-year-old all-star team as his first memorable moment in baseball.

“As a kid in New Pal, I played with a lot of the same players through my career. We were all friends through school and played ball together,” said Highsmith, now the Co-Owner of Highsmith Guns in Greenfield. “It was fun through the summer. We won 22-25 games and lost maybe three times.”

Fast forward to Highsmith’s second year at New Palestine High School. The Dragons were coming off a 27-7 season that culminated with a 3-1, eight-inning loss to Norwell in the Class 3A State Finals.

NP was even better in 2004, riding a 29-4 record to the 3A state title game behind by a group of sophomores – most of who played freshman ball in 2003.

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