FORTVILLE — With seven of 12 hits for extra bases, including four home runs, New Palestine put on a powerful display of hitting in its 13-1 Hoosier Heritage Conference victory at rival Mt. Vernon Thursday.

“That’s kind of what we’ve always been known for, our hitting,” veteran New Palestine softball coach Ed Marcum said of his six-time state championship program. “The girls worked really hard in the weightroom. They work hard to hit, not just during the season, but in the offseason.

“We talk about tournament-mentality and that’s what we want to be, mentally ready to go. That’s what hitting is, it’s so mental. We came out and got up early, I kept thinking we were going to break it open then we hit three home runs in (the fifth) inning.”

New Palestine got its good start against Mt. Vernon freshman pitcher Amelia Anderson, making her first varsity start.

In the first inning, after back-to-back walks to Jersi Gross and Allie Blum, Paige Ernstes lofted a pitch over the leftfield fence to give the Dragons a 3-0 lead. It was her third home run of the season.

After walks to Katie Hirschy and Sydney Oliver, Maddie Engle singled up the middle to score Hirschy. The Dragons led 4-0 after just one-half inning.

They extended their lead to 5-0 in the third inning. Oliver got a leadoff double. With two outs, and Oliver on third base advancing after a fly out to the outfield, she scored on a Mt. Vernon error.

The big bashing came in the fifth. New Palestine had six hits and seven runs in the frame. Five of the six hits were for extra bases.

Blum hit a three-run home run, her third of the year, to centerfield after a walk to Ella Holman and bunt single by Gross.

After two ground outs, Oliver reached on an error. Engle followed with a long home run over the leftfield scoreboard, her second of the season. Frosh pinch-hitter Payton Dye followed with the first home run of her career, like Engle’s, it went over the scoreboard.

“She got her first varsity hit on Tuesday and she told me, and I found this hard to believe, the one she hit over the scoreboard was her first ever home run at any level and she plays travel ball over the place, Marcum said.

Saydie Miller and Nyla Lewis followed Dye’s first HR with back-to-back doubles.

New Palestine led 6-1 prior to its big fifth inning. In the fourth, a leadoff walk to Blum was followed by one-out, back-to-back singles by Hirschy and Oliver, the latter scored Blum to give the Dragons a five-run advantage.

Nine different players had hits and Blum, Oliver and Engle had multi-hit games. Ernstes nearly had a second home run. She flied out to deep left field in her second at-bat, but Emery Wampler had room to make the catch.

New Palestine is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the HHC. They have scored 11 or more runs in four of five games and have won all five games by at least five runs.

The Dragons got a later start than a lot of teams. Following a two-week layoff during spring break, they — like most teams across the state —weren’t able to play due to weather. Their first game wasn’t until April 9, a 20-0 win over East Central.

“The girls handled (not playing) better than I did,” Marcum said. “It was disappointing. You get fired up wanting to play and then the weather happens. It seemed like it always happened when it was our gametime, but they stayed with it and we got extra work in because of it.”

Mt. Vernon got its lone run in the third inning, the frame it recorded three of four hits.

Pinch-hitter Lillian Jenkins led the inning off with a double. With one out, Ainsley Baer produced an RBI-single to left field. Easton Wampler had a hit in the inning also.

Along with hitting the ball hard, New Palestine benefited from five Mt. Vernon errors, all came after two outs.

“We have to pick it up defensively,” Mt. Vernon coach Veronica Kirby. “…. Offensively, we squared a few up, but right to them.”

Mt. Vernon dropped to 3-6 and 1-1 in the HHC. They are scheduled to complete a suspended conference game against Yorktown (4-2, 1-2) beginning Friday at 6 p.m. Yorktown leads 6-0 with the Marauders batting in the bottom of the first inning.

New Palestine hosts Zionsville (6-1) Friday at 5:30 p.m.

The Dragons will honor the 20th anniversary of their first state title team both prior and after the game. Marcum said many of those that played for him during the 2004 championship season are expected to be in attendance.

New Palestine 13, Mt. Vernon 1

New Palestine (4-0, 1-0);401;17;—;13;12;0

Mt. Vernon (3-5, 1-0);001;00;—;1;4;5

Courtney Study, Sadey Hughbanks (4) and Reese Rosenbaum; Amelia Anderson, Aubrey Lowe (2) and Easton Wampler. 2B: NP – Sydney Oliver, Saydie Miller, Nyla Lewis; MV – Lillian Jenkins. HR: NP- Paige Ernstes (3), Allie Blum (3), Maddie Engle (2), Payton Dye (1). WP: Study (4-0). LP: Anderson (0-1).