NEW PALESTINE —Greenfield-Central played Home Run Derby at New Palestine Thursday.
The G-C softball team hit five home runs and defeated the Class 4A sixth-ranked Dragons for the first time in at least 20 years, 9-7, Thursday.
Greenfield-Central head coach Jason Stewart said it was his first win over the Dragons in his 17 years as the Cougars head coach.
“They have kicked me for as many years as I’ve been here,” Stewart said. “That’s the first time we’ve beating them, under me, and it’s probably been a while before that too. It’s the first time in a long time.”
In his 20th year leading the Dragons, head coach Ed Marcum said it was the first time he’d lost to the Hancock County and Hoosier Heritage Conference rivals.
He gave credit to the Cougars, who hit two seventh-inning home runs to take the lead for the first time in the game.
“(Greenfield-Central) did great and we just didn’t play well overall. The ball wasn’t really moving (for pitcher Courtney Study),” Marcum said.
“They’ve got some really good hitters and we didn’t make good enough pitches to them. They did a great job of hitting the ball,” he added. “It’s been 20 years I’ve been here and this has been one of the most disappointing losses that I can remember.”
New Palestine led 4-0 and 7-3, but couldn’t cool the hot bats of the Cougars, namely Camille Burelison and Savannah Riall. They had two home runs each. Olivia Roberts also had a home run, her team-leading ninth of the season.
Burelison went 3-for-4. She homered leading off the fourth inning to give Greenfield-Central its first run. In the seventh, she followed a leadoff single from Josie White with her second home run of the game, and eighth of the season.
“I was waiting on the change-up,” Burelison said of her seventh-inning at-bat. “I was fully expecting a change-up and she left it hanging over the middle so I took advantage of that. She had been pitching me low, high, everywhere.”
One of only three seniors on the team, Burelison’s two-run home run gave Greenfield-Central an 8-7 lead. Freshman catcher Riall followed the two-run shot with a solo home run for the team’s ninth run.
It was her second home run in as many at-bats. Riall hit a two-run homer in the fifth to cut New Palestine’s lead to 7-6. She went 3-for-4 with hits in her final three at-bats.
Roberts’ home run led off the fifth inning.
“Camille and Liv have been unbelievable this year,” Stewart said. “Cam had been in a funk the last couple of games. She, obviously, came out of it (Thursday). She was hitting bullets everywhere. Those two with the bats have carried us this year. Savannah has the potential to be one of the best hitters I’ve ever had. She’s been pressing (at the plate). As she relaxes, that kid is going to be dangerous.”
The Dragons scored six of their seven runs off Greenfield-Central reliever Faith Butler, who relieved starter Madysen Herbert in the third. Herbert returned in the sixth. In four innings, she gave up one unearned run and struck out six without giving up a hit.
“We had a plan going in,” Stewart said. “Madysen was going to throw one time through the order and we were going to throw Faith and see what happened. As the game went on and we kept hitting, it was like, let’s go for it. Faith kept us in the game. She hadn’t thrown a lot this year. Madysen was fantastic, but the key to us was our offense.”
New Palestine scored a run in the first without a hit. Two walks and an error on a pop up gave the Dragons a 1-0 lead. In the third, Allie Blum singled. Alyssa Mumaw was hit by a pitch and Paige Ernstes drove them both in with a double. Ernstes scored on a single by Reese Rosenbaum.
The Cougars answered with a three-run fourth. Along with getting a leadoff longball from Burelison, Katie Muegge had a two-run double.
New Palestine made it an even fourth. It scored three times, too, getting an RBI-double from Blum and two-run single from Mumaw.
The Cougars followed with four home runs in their final three at-bats.
New Palestine lost Wednesday to No. 2 Roncalli, but Thursday’s loss was costly in the conference standings.
The Dragons were in control of their destiny up until the loss to the Cougars.
There are now four teams in the HHC with just one loss. New Palestine and Shelbyville are both 4-1. Greenfield-Central and Pendleton Heights are both 2-1. Yorktown is 3-2.
The teams are beating up on each other. New Palestine gave Shelbyville its lone HHC loss. Shelbyville beat Pendleton Heights, ranked No. 8 in Class 4A. Greenfield-Central’s loss is to Yorktown.
“We were in the driver’s seat,” Marcum said. “All we had to do was take care of business here. We had a 7-3 lead and couldn’t hold it. We take care of business here we’re looking to clinch (at Pendleton Heights next week). Pendleton’s playing really well, much better than us right now, but most everybody is playing better than us right now.”
The Dragons are 11-4 overall. The Cougars are 10-4.
New Palestine has a non-conference game at home today against Franklin Community. Greenfield-Central travels to New Castle today looking for its third HHC win.
Greenfield-Central 9, New Palestine 7
Greenfield-Central (10-4, 2-1);000;330;3; —;9;13;1
New Palestine (11-4, 4-1);103;300;0; —;7;7;1
Madysen Herbert, Faith Butler (3), Herbert (6) and Savannah Riall; Courtney Study, Sadey Hughbanks (7) and Aglaia Rudd. 2B: G-C – Katie Muegge. NP – Paige Ernstes, Allie Blum, Reese Rosenbaum. HR: G-C – Camille Burelison 2 (8), Riall 2 (4), Olivia Roberts (9). WP: Herbert (5-2). LP: Study (8-1).