The New Castle High School varsity baseball team utilized its pitching to throttle visiting Delta in a doubleheader Saturday at Sunnyside Field and emerged from a cool, cloudy, and rainy day with a sweep of the twin bill over the Eagles, 11-1 in 4 ½ innings in the opener and 4-3 in the nightcap.
The host Trojans evened their record in the Hoosier Heritage Conference to 3-3 and improved to 5-7 for the season. Delta slipped to records of 0-8 in the HHC and 3-8 overall.
“Getting two wins in the conference is huge,” New Castle Head Coach Brad Pearson said after the double victory. “We played with the lead in the first game, but struggled getting hits in the second one. Our guys stayed with it and found a way to win.”
New Castle hurlers limited the Eagles to one hit in each game. The Trojans collected 11 hits, combined, in the two contests but got on base an additional 18 times on 17 walks and a hit batsman.
“We have given up a lot of unearned runs this year,” Pearson remarked, “and I feel the runs they (Eagles) got we gave to them. Our guys might have been feeling the pressure again that second game, but persevered and were able to turn a potential L into a W.”
New Castle was the home team in the first contest and junior Aydan Decker-Petty pitched a complete game for the win, giving up just one unearned run on one hit. Decker-Petty walked no Eagle batters, but hit four of them with pitches, and recorded six strikeouts in five innings.
Two of those hit batsmen were in the top of the first inning. Leading off, Delta’s Cody Howard got plunked by a Decker-Petty pitch but was forced out at second base on Luke Belangee’s fielder’s choice grounder.
Belangee took second on a wild pitch, but had to hold there as the next batter grounded out 4-3. Logan Drown got plunked by a pitch, but Decker-Petty whiffed the next batter on a 3-2 pitch to retire the side.
Carter King started on the hill for the Eagles and lasted just 1/3 of an inning. Leading off for New Castle in the bottom of the first, Corbin Malott reached base on a bad-hop single, Eli Cooper got hit by a pitch, and Garrett Rusch singled to left field, driving in Malott with the first run of the game.
Cooper and Rusch recorded a double steal and Jacob Lucas walked on five pitches to fill the sacks. Nick Burns’ infield hit plated Cooper, and Rusch also dashed home safely after a delay for a 3-0 Trojan advantage. Miles Mann’s pop-up was dropped for an error, and the bags were loaded again.
The next batter whiffed on three pitches for the first out, but Dawson Scott walked on King’s ninth pitch to him to force Lucas across the plate for a 4-0 lead. Aidan Bradley came in to run for Scott.
Bryce Jenkins’ double to right field brought Burns and Mann across the plate. Malott stepped to the plate for the second time in the frame and his single to right field brought in Bradley and Jenkins, boosting the Trojan advantage to 8-0, and Malott took second base on the throw-in.
Parker Faletic came in to relieve King on the mound for the Eagles. Malott stole third base and then scored on an infield hit by Cooper for a 9-0 New Castle lead.
Cooper stole second base and took third on Rusch’s 1-3 groundout. Lucas grounded out 4-3 to end the inning.
Delta scored its lone run in the top of the second inning. Leadoff batter Mario Lopez got plunked by a pitch, but Decker-Petty struck out the next batter. Corbin Uhrick’s liner was dropped, and a throwing error on the play enabled Lopez to wind up on third base and Uhrick on second.
Lopez scored on Trevor Edgerton’s 4-3 groundout, trimming the host’s lead to 9-1, and Uhrick took third base. But the next batter whiffed on a called third strike to end the half inning.
Faletic retired the Trojans 1-2-3 in the last of the second.
The Eagles got their only hit in the top of the third inning. After the first batter fanned on three pitches, Ben Morris singled to left field. But he was erased at second base on Drown’s fielder’s choice grounder. The next batter grounded out 1-3 to end the half-inning.
The Trojans got their final two runs in the last of the third, courtesy of some wildness from Faletic. Leading off, Scott walked on five pitches and Bradley came in to run for him again. Bradley stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch.
Faletic walked Jenkins, but Jenkins tried to reach second base on the play and was tagged for the first out. Malott walked on five pitches and stole second base. The next batter fanned on four pitches for the second out, but Rusch belted a double to left centerfield, plating Bradley and Malott for an 11-1 New Castle advantage.
Faletic walked Lucas on four pitches and Burns on five to fill the sacks. But the next batter grounded out 1-3 and the hosts stranded three runners.
Decker-Petty retired Delta in order in the top of the fourth inning. Jenkins walked with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, but didn’t score.
Decker-Petty retired the first two Eagle batters he faced in the top of the fifth inning, but bopped Belangee with a 0-2 pitch, and Belangee advanced to second base on a wild pitch.
But Decker-Petty induced the next batter to fly out to right field, ending the game at 11:47 a.m. after 1:41 of playing time.
“I tried to guide my fastball inside to keep them (Eagles) from crowding the plate,” Decker-Petty, an IU recruit, remarked. “I hit a couple of batters but my defense behind me bailed me out. My teammates also scored a lot of runs, which definitely made pitching a little easier.”
New Castle was the visiting team in the second game and didn’t get its first hit until the fifth inning, as Delta starting pitcher Nick Crabtree held the Trojans pretty much in check.
Their (Eagles) pitcher the second game was really good,” Pearson added. “He’s a crafty lefty that kept us off balance at the plate. I can definitely see him (Crabtree) pitching somewhere at the next level.”
However, that didn’t mean New Castle didn’t have chances to score against Crabtree, because it did.
Leading off in the top of the first inning, Malott drew a walk after eight pitches. Malott took off for an attempted steal of second base, and the throw in an attempt to nail him sailed past the second baseman and Malott ended up at third base on the error.
Cooper stepped in and hit a fly ball to right field that was caught. Malott tagged up after the catch, but was tagged out at home play trying to score for a double play.
Crabtree walked Rusch and Lucas back-to-back, but the fifth batter of the half-inning struck out to retire the side.
Crabtree struck out the side in the top of the second inning, but issued back-to-back walks to Jenkins and Malott leading off the top of the third. Cooper’s sacrifice bunt moved Jenkins and Malott into scoring position, but the next two batters flew out and grounded out to retire the side.
Crabtree issued a one-out walk to Mann in the top of the fourth inning, but Mann stayed there as the next two batters struck out and lined out.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning, the Trojans got their first hit of the game when Malott singled to centerfield. Cooper grounded the ball to the third baseman, but Malott beat his throw to second base and all hands were safe on the fielder’s choice.
Rusch walked on five pitches to fill the sacks and Morris came in to pitch for the Eagles. Morris induced the next batter to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to retire the side, and New Castle remained scoreless through five.
Meanwhile as all of this was going on, Delta managed to squeeze out a trio of runs against Trojan starting pitcher Cooper despite getting only one hit.
In the bottom of the first inning, Cooper retired the first two Eagle batters before walking Morris on four pitches and hitting Drown with a pitch. Edgerton came in to run for Drown.
Lopez then stepped to the plate and belted Cooper’s eighth pitch to him for a double to right field, plating Morris and Edgerton for a 2-0 Delta lead. Lopez went to third on a wild pitch, but the next batter flew out to right to end the inning.
Cooper retired the Eagles in order in the last of the second, two via strikeout, but Delta scored an unearned run in the last of the third.
In that frame, Cooper walked leadoff batter Belangee. After whiffing the next batter, Cooper uncorked a wild pitch that enabled Belangee to hustle all the way to third base before fanning the next batter for the second out.
Drown stepped to the plate, and his grounder was mishandled by the infielder allowing Belangee to score to boost the Delta advantage to 3-0. Edgerton came in to run for Drown but was tagged out trying to steal second base to end the inning.
Cooper retired the Eagles 1-2-3 in the last of the fourth inning. In the bottom of the fifth, Cooper struck out the first batter he faced, but Howard reached base on an error, took second on a 6-3 groundout by Belangee, and went to third on a throwing error on the play.
Cooper walked Uhrick on a 3-2 pitch to put runners on the corners, but then fanned the next batter on three pitches to emerge from the inning unscathed.
New Castle managed to tie the contest in the top of the sixth inning against Morris. Leading off, Burns walked on five pitches and Bradley came in to run for him. Bradley took second on a wild pitch and scored on Mann’s single to right field.
Mann was forced out at second base on Barber’s fielder’s choice grounder. Blake McKown singled to right centerfield, moving Barber to third base. Jenkins’ fielder’s choice grounder forced McKown out at second base, but Barber scored on the play, trimming the Eagle lead to 3-2, and Jenkins took second base.
Malott’s liner to the shortstop was dropped for an error, putting runners on the corners with two away. Malott stole second base. A wild pitch enabled Jenkins to score, tying the contest 3-3, and Malott to move to third. The next batter popped out to the shortstop to end the half-inning.
Cooper walked Drown on six pitches leading off the last of the sixth and Jackson King came in to run for Drown. But King was erased from the bases on a 6-4-3 double play, the next batter grounded out 5-3, and Delta didn’t score.
The Trojans took the lead in the top of the seventh inning. Morris walked Rusch on five pitches and a sacrifice bunt by Lucas moved Rusch to second base. Rusch stole third base. Burns lofted a fly ball to right field that was caught by the fielder, but Rusch tagged up and slid across home plate, beating the throw to the plate for a 4-3 New Castle advantage.
Mann and Barber followed with back-to-back singles, but the next batter popped out to the shortstop to retire the side.
Malott came in to relieve Cooper on the mound in the bottom of the seventh. After inducing a ground ball out, Malott walked Edgerton on five pitches.
But Malott induced the next two Eagle batters to pop up to the shortstop and fly out to left field to end the game at 2:54 p.m. amid light raindrops after 2:27 of playing time.
The Trojans traveled to Noblesville Monday evening and play another HHC contest today at Yorktown.