NEW PALESTINE — After graduating 11 seniors from a 2022 sectional championship and regional finalist team, New Palestine’s baseball team followed with 23 wins, another sectional title and the first regional championship in 10 years.

So, even with the loss of seven from the Class of 2023 that includes the club’s top two hitters, the No. 1 pitcher and the majority of innings from their pitching staff, it’s hard not to think that the Dragons will figure out how to be very good again.

“We graduated 145 innings, that’s going to be a challenge,” New Palestine head coach Shawn Lyons said. “We’re going to be inexperienced on the mound, but we were inexperienced last year on the mound and found a way. We’re hoping through our development, coaching them hard over the winter and their hard work, we can throw strikes and play good defense behind them.”

Senior Michael Thorpe is the veteran of the pitching staff. He went 6-2 last year with a 1.17 earned run average, pitching 48 innings. His brother, Henry Thorpe, coming off an injury from last year, has the second most innings returning with 11.

Rigg Mahurin, Ben Hirschy, Jacob Morris, Gavin Neal, Adam Rickey are all expected to be part of the pitching staff this season. They combined to throw 12.2 varsity innings last year.

The Dragons graduated top arm Blaine Nunnally, now playing at Southwest Tennessee, but he was more than just a strong pitcher.

He was 7-2 with a 1.92 ERA and fanned 89 in 62 innings, along with two shutouts. He was the winning pitcher in both the sectional and regional championship games. He also was the team’s second best hitter, batting .320, and led the team with 20 stolen bases.

Also gone is outfielder/slugger Wes Stiller, now at Hanover College. He hit .412 with seven home runs and 42 RBI and was a North-South All-Star Game selection.

Brayden Marrow, Ben Morwick, Chase Ankney, Nolan Cox and Brock Whitaker were all key contributors on last year’s team and the majority have gone on to continuing playing in college, too.

Even with the departures, the Dragons should still be a veteran team.

Lyons kept 10 seniors on this year’s club and have a number of kids that played some in 2023. Eight returnees had at least 40 plate appearances.

“For us to [keep 10 seniors], our seniors have to buy into their roles,” Lyons said. “They say they are good with it on March 15 when asked, but on May 5 when things may not have gone the way they wanted on playing time, are they still going to be team first? And, that typically happens our guys buy in. They’re just glad to be part of the New Palestine baseball program and do whatever they can. ‘If I’m the best bullpen catcher, so be it. If I’m chasing foul balls, so be it.’”

Rickey, Hirschy, Morris, Neal, Michael Thorpe, Nic Deering, Wyatt Matheis, and Jackson Kamp are all part of the 40 PA group.

Rickey played infield last season, including shortstop when Nunnally pitched. He hit .286 with five doubles, 12 RBI and 26 runs scored.

Hirschy, a first baseman, hit .294 with five doubles and 22 RBI.

Morris, played some third base and second base a year ago. Only a sophomore, he was just behind Nunnally in batting average, hitting .319 as a freshman. He had three extra-base hits and 17 RBI.

Neal, another sophomore, took advantage of his playing time by hitting .289 with 10 RBI. He’s expected to be in the mix for an outfield spot.

When he wasn’t on the mound, Michael Thorpe played some second base. He hit .250 with two doubles.

Deering was a big postseason contributor last year, too. He played both infield and outfield and has been a designated hitter. He scored 18 runs, hit .259 and drove in 10.

Matheis and Kamp have both started at catcher. Matheis was the starter during the final stretch of the season. He hit .290 with 12 RBI. Kamp hit .278 with two doubles, a triple and six RBI.

“[We’ve] got a lot of guys that have played, but now these guys are going to be on everybody’s scouting report,” Lyons added. “… Our infield is pretty much back. [All of those guys] played big roles in our semi-state run.”

Mahurin, Henry Thorpe and newcomer Jesse Isaacs will be vying for time in the outfield.

Three seniors, Jace Jaques (DH/PH), Landon Ballard (OF) and Jack Anderson (C/OF) are all working to get in the lineup, too.

The team opens the season on its new artificial turf field Tuesday with a Hoosier Heritage Conference game against Shelbyville.

2024 New Palestine Baseball Schedule


April 2;vs. Shelbyville;5:30 p.m.

April 3;at Shelbyville;5:30 p.m.

April 6;vs. Batesville;12 p.m.

April 9;at Yorktown;6 p.m.

April 10;vs. Yorktown;6 p.m.

April 13;vs. Ben Davis (Lebanon);1:30 p.m.

April 13;vs. TBD (Lebanon);4 p.m./6:30 p.m.

April 15;at Whiteland;6 p.m.

April 16;at Mt. Vernon;6 p.m.

April 17;vs. Mt. Vernon;6 p.m.

April 19;at Beech Grove;5:30 p.m.

April 20;vs. Franklin Central;10 a.m.

April 22;at Knightstown;6 p.m.

April 23;vs. Greenfield-Central;6 p.m.

April 24;at Greenfield-Central;6 p.m.

April 26;vs. East Central;6 p.m.

April 29;vs. Warren Central;5:30 p.m.

April 30;at Delta;6 p.m.

May 1;vs. Delta;6 p.m.

May 4;vs. Connersville;10 a.m.

May 7;vs. Pendleton Heights;6 p.m.

May 8;at Pendleton Heights;6 p.m.

May 9;vs. Cathedral;5:30 p.m.

May 10;vs. Perry Meridian;6 p.m.

May 13;at Scecina;6 p.m.

May 14;vs. New Castle;5:30 p.m.

May 15;at New Castle;5:30 p.m.

May 16;vs. Greenwood;5:30 p.m.