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BA: Vance & Clark's no-hitter cap Dragon sweep

April 18, 2014
By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School

Evan Vance and Cameron Clark combined on a no-hitter to lead a Dragon sweep of New Castle. The Dragons won the opener 8-6, and the two combined on the no-hitter in a 9-0 Game 2 victory.

The victories cap a 4-0 week for the Dragons, who are now 6-3 on the season.

Vance threw 5 1/3 hitless innings, but left the game with the bases loaded in the sixth after an error, a walk and a hit batter. Clark came in and retired five of the six batters he faced, fanning back-to-back hitters to end the sixth-inning threat, and surrendering only one walk in the seventh. Solid defensive plays by Nick Butcher on hard-hit balls up the middle helped seal the no-hitter. 

Vance got the win to improve to 2-1 on the year.

New Castle had seven baserunners in the game -- courtesy of three walks, three hit batters and one error -- but none gained a hit. Vance struck out seven -- including five in a row in a stretch from the second to the fourth -- and Clark fanned two. Only one baserunner got past second base. It was the first no-hitter for a New Palestine team since Casey Bussell threw a six-inning no-hitter against Rushville in 2010.

The Dragon offense came to life in a four-run third inning, which began with a walk to Nick Butcher, who stole second and later scored on a wild pitch. Connor Swain also walked and scored on Steven Clark's single. Zach Biddle and Tyler Woodcock added two-out hits to plate Clark and Evan Hickman, who also reached via hit. The game stayed 4-0 until the sixth, when the Dragons' first five batters -- Butcher, Cameron Clark, Swain, Steven Clark and Hickman -- had consecutive singles, the last three driving in runs -- to make it 7-0. Two more came across in the eighth as Cameron Clark singled, Swain followed with a double, and both would score on an RBI groundout by Steven Clark and a wild pitch.

Cameron Clark was 3-5 with a run scored. Steven Clark was also 3-5 with three RBI. Hickman was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. As a team, the Dragons had 12 hits.

In the first game, a four-run fourth inning broke open what had been a 1-1 game, and the bullpen had to nail down the game at the finish to seal the victory.

Evan Hickman was 2-3, scored three times and homered to lead the Dragon attack. Wes McBride was also 2-3 with two RBI, and Steven Clark was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run.

NP got on the board first when Hickman led off the bottom of the second with a homer to right-center -- his first varsity homer, and the third hit by a Dragon this season. New Castle answered in the top of the third with a two-out RBI single by Kenny Martin, and the game stayed 1-1 until the fourth. The Dragons batted around in the inning, which opened with a single by Hickman, a walk by Justin Anderson, and back-to-back RBI hits by Logan Gilvin and Wes McBride, making it a 3-1 game. Nick Butcher plated Gilvin by reaching on a fielder's choice, and Steven Ckarl's two-out single up the middle to plate Butcher and make it a 5-1 contest.

New Castle answered with a single run in the fifth, but the Dragons came back in the bottom of the inning when Hickman walked and scored on McBride's one-out single to right. Two more insurance runs came across in the sixth, courtesy of a leadoff single by Steven Clark, followed by an RBI triple from Vance. Anderson doubled to centerifeld to plate Vance and make it 8-2. New Castle made it interesting, taking advantage of two walks and four hits to plate four runs, but Hogan Fulkerson came on in relief and coaxed two groundouts to end the threat with the tying run on base.

Andy Edwards (1-0) got the win, allowing two earned runs, six hits and striking out five in 5 2/3 innings. Fulkerson threw the final 2/3 to get the save. Anderson also threw 2/3 of an inning.

The Dragons next play Monday at Whiteland. They return home Wednesday to face Roncalli. First pitch for both games is 5:30 p.m.

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