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BA: Dragons hold off Braves for sectional title

June 3, 2014
By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School

New Palestine began play Tuesday with a one-run lead and nine outs to get. At the plate, the Dragons extended that lead, and pitchers Evan Vance and Connor Swain shut the door on the Braves, giving NP a 7-5 victory and the 2014 Class 3A sectional title at Chatard.

The Dragons will move on to regional play Saturday at Crawfordsville. They will play Lebanon in the 11 a.m. semifinal. Edgewood and Beech Grove will be the other two competitors.

The game was suspended 24 hours due to heavy rain and lightning that hit the Chatard field on Monday. When it resumed, the Dragons had Nick Butcher and Cameron Clark on base -- thanks to a hit batsman and a walk -- and none out in the bottom of the fourth. Cleanup batter Steven Clark delivered an RBI single to plate Butcher, and then Logan Gilvin's base hit delivered his third RBI of the day, bringing home another run to make it 6-3.

Butcher delivered a sacrifice fly down the rightfield line in the sixth to make it a 7-3 game.

Meanwhile, Evan Vance came on in relief and retired the Braves quietly in the fifth and sixth -- allowing only one baserunner to reach on an error in the two innings. After he retired the leadoff batter in the seventh, Brebeuf had back-to-back singles, bringing Swain in to finish off the game. Brebeuf added two RBI hits, but Swain was able to induce two groundouts and clinch the 15th sectional championship in New Palestine's history.

It marked the second sectional title in three years under head coach Shawn Lyons, joining a 4A sectional championship won in 2012.

Cameron Clark (3-1), who threw four innings on Monday, got the win. Swain notched his first save of the season. Gilvin had three RBI. Butcher scored three runs to help lead the Dragons' offense.

The Dragons won by climbing out of a hole and scoring seven consecutive runs. On Monday, the Dragons fell behind 3-0 in the first, but began to rally in the bottom of the inning. Gilvin's base hit plated Nick Butcher in the first, and then the Dragons plated three more runs in the third, with Connor Swain leading off the inning with a double off the leftfield wall, and Steven Clark following by reaching on an error. The Dragons scored with Gilvin hitting a sacrifice fly, Jason Hall-Manley following with an RBI double, and Evan Hickman with an RBI single to give NP a 4-3 lead.

Cameron Clark pitched four solid innings, allowing four hits and striking out five. He allowed only one hit -- a slowly-hit infield single -- after the first inning.

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