NEW PALESTINE — It doesn’t get old and it isn’t taken for granted.

For the third straight year New Palestine’s baseball team is among the final eight teams remaining in the Class 4A IHSAA Baseball State Tournament.

The Dragons have won back-to-back regional championships. Two years ago, in the IHSAA’s old tournament format, they were in a regional championship game. All three times the Dragons played Cathedral, winning the last two, including a 6-5 victory Monday at Jasper.

Today at 11 a.m., New Palestine (25-5) faces No. 6 Mooresville (30-3) at Mooresville’s Pioneer Field in the first of two Class 4A South Semi-State semifinal games.

Floyd Central (25-3) and Avon (18-15) will follow. The championship game is at 8 p.m. with the winner advancing to the state championship game next weekend.

“We don’t take it for granted. It’s not easy,” New Palestine head coach Shawn Lyons said of his team’s third straight year in the state quarterfinals. “These guys, if I see them do that, we’re going get on them.”

As a reminder at a recent practice, Lyons brought his team inside to the school’s gymnasium to look at the walls dedicated to the school’s championship teams.

“(I told them) look at all those sectionals (19) and regionals (8), but for semi-state champions we had one,” he said. “There’s one of them up there. You think you guys are satisfied now? We’ve got one in the history of the school.

“You’re going to be in rarefied air if you win two games on Saturday and then that puts you in a whole different level that only two teams have ever been in and that’s what we want to do.”

This season the Dragons celebrated the 20-year anniversary of their 2004 state championship. They were state runners-up in 2003.

They want to get back to the state’s final game, but know the challenge will be tough against a good team playing on its home field.

With 30 victories, Mooresville is the winningest team remaining in the state tournament.

They are led by Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year Hogan Denny, a versatile position player/pitcher who is hitting .478 with nine home runs, 39 RBI and 20 stolen bases. As a pitcher, he has a 0.86 earned run average with 11 saves. Top starting pitcher Brendin Oliver is 10-0 with a 2.18 ERA.

The Dragons are having a great year, too. Their 25-win total is tied for second most in the tournament.

They’ve done it like they usually do, good pitching, good defense and timely hitting with a smallball component.

They have three pitchers that all could be considered a No. 1 on a lot of pitching staffs. Michael Thorpe is 6-1 with a 2.32 ERA and has thrown a team-high 51.1 innings with 64 strikeouts. Rigg Mahurin is 5-1 with a 0.98 ERA and 50 Ks in 35.2 innings. Jacob Morris is 5-2 and was the winning pitcher in both the sectional championship and regional championship games. He has a 0.93 ERA with 47 Ks in 45 innings.

They’ve hit up and down the order. Nine players have double figures in RBI. Morris leads with 34 driven in. Jackson Kamp has knocked in 30. The other seven are between 11 and 20 RBI. Seven players are hitting over .300 and all nine regulars are hitting .274 or better.

“Two years ago we had way more power and went to the final eight,” Lyons said. “Last year we had Wes (Stiller as a big power hitter). This team doesn’t have as much power, we’re more gap, singles, base-t0-base, steal a base, get them over. If teams give us free 90s (errors, walks) we try to take advantage of that. We’ve had to do more of that than rely on the three-run homer.”

The team has six home runs this season. Morris has two and Kamp, Wyatt Matheis, Ben Hirschy and Nic Deering each have one. Mooresville has hit 21 as a team.

“Last year when we played at Mooresville (for the regional against Cathedral) we had a good crowd, but Mooresville’s going to have a good crowd too. It’s going to be the biggest environment these kids have played in before,” Lyons said.

That’s alright with Lyons, as he said, the Dragons don’t take getting this far in the tournament for granted. Being part of the state’s final eight teams is special.

“(Mooresville will be) comfortable in their environment, we had the same advantage in the sectional,” Lyons said of having homefield in the tournament. “I’ll play anywhere in the state of Indiana in a semi-state. If we have to go to Mooresville and play them on their homefield, so be it. We’re just blessed with the opportunity to have a chance to play and be one of the final eight teams again this year. Let’s go play. I’ll go play Notre Dame at Notre Dame if we have to. It’s the semi-state, it means a lot.”

2024 IHSAA Class 4A Baseball State Tournament

Admission: All tickets will be digital through your mobile phone and may be purchased through Eventlink (additional fees may apply). No cash. Present your purchase verification on your mobile phone at the gate for admission. $12 per session; $20 all sessions. Children age 5 and younger admitted free.

Home Team: The second-named team in each game is the designated home team.


Class 4A at Lafayette Jefferson (Loeb Stadium)

11 am| G1: Lake Central (22-9) vs. Westfield (21-10)

2 pm | G2: Homestead (19-10) vs. Concord (20-10)

8 pm | Championship: G1 winner vs. G2 winner


Class 4A at Mooresville (Pioneer Field)

11 am| G1: New Palestine (25-5) vs. Mooresville (30-3)

2 pm | G2: Floyd Central (25-3) vs. Avon (18-15)

8 pm | Championship: G1 winner vs. G2 winner