New Palestine High School
Baseball beats Cathedral for regional title
By Andrew Smith | Jun 3, 2023 2:55 PM
The New Palestine baseball team kept scratching across runs Saturday.
Meanwhile, Blaine Nunnally kept mowing through the Cathedral lineup.
As a result, the Dragons are among the final eight teams standing in the IHSAA Class 4A baseball tournament after a 4-2 victory over Cathedral.
Nunnally pitched another strong game, allowing four hits and one earned run to earn his second straight complete-game victory. He struck out 10 Irish batters and retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced.
At the plate, the Dragons manufactured runs from throughout the lineup to earn the right to play next week.
After leaving two runners on base in the top of the first, the Dragons surrendered their first run of the tournament in the bottom of the first after a walk, stolen base, throwing error and wild pitch allowed a run.
But the Irish lead was short-lived. Adam Rickey was hit by a 3-1 pitch to lead off the second. He stoke second base, moved thord on a passed ball and scored on Wyatt Mathies' sacrifice fly to center to tie the game.
Cathedral re-took the lead with three consecutive hits in the third, but Nunnally induced a popout to short left with a runner on third and then struck out the Irish's No. 5 hitter to end the threat. From there, Nunnally cruised, only allowing a fifth-inning single on a flare to right.
The Dragons again knotted the game up in the fourth, staging a two-out rally. After the first two batters grounded out on the first two pitches of the inning, Rickey drove a single into left. He stole second and scored on Ben Hirschy's line-drive base hit to left, tying the game at 2-2.
In the fifth inning, the Dragons took the lead when Mathies worked a leadoff walk. Ben Morwick then faked a bunt and slapped a single up the middle. Both runners moved up 90 feet on Nic Deering's groundout. Wes Stiller then hit a flyball to short center. Cathedral's shortstop made the catch, but courtesy runner Brayden Marrow alertly tagged up, scampered home and beat the throw - which was up the line - to give the Dragons the lead.
In the sixth, Jacob Morris led off with a single, went to second on Rickey's bunt and scored on a base hit by pinch-hitter Jackson Kamp, giving the Dragons a key insurance run.
But Nunnally was cruising. He fanned back-to-back Irish hitters looking to end a perfect sixth, then recorded another punchout before a flyball and a comebacker to the mound ended the game.
Nunnally improved to 7-1 with the victory.
At the plate, the Dragons had five hits. Rickey was 1-for-1 with two runs scored and a sacrifice. Morris was 1-for-3 with a run. Hirschy was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. Kamp was 1-for-1 with an RBI. Morwick was 1-for-4. Mathies and Stiller both drove in runs with sacrifice flies.
The Dragons advance to next Saturday's semistate, where they will face either Jeffersonville or No. 9 Castle at a site that will be announced Sunday.
The Dragons won their seventh regional championship in school history and first since 2014. They will be seeking to win their first semistate since the 2004 state championship year next week. It's the sixth regional title head coach Shawn Lyons has been a part of - including his third as a head coach, joining regional championships in 2012 and 2014.