PENDLETON — The Arabian softball team continues to struggle, and on Wednesday against the No. 3-ranked Class 3A New Palestine Dragons, it was one big inning that did in the Arabians.
Senior Kaylee Kropp cleared the bases with a three-run double to cap an eight-run sixth inning, as the Dragons toppled Pendleton Heights 13-3 in a game shortened to six innings because of the run rule.
For Pendleton Heights (13-7), it was the fifth-straight loss, which dropped the Arabians to 1-1 in Hoosier Heritage Conference play. The Dragons improved to 17-2 overall (5-0, HHC).
Senior Shelbie Longere’s RBI double and a pinch-hit two-run hit by sophomore Chloe Closser got Pendleton Heights close at 5-3 in the fourth. Senior Audrey Ricker had kept the Dragons’ offense under control through five innings, largely by keeping their big hitters — Ashley Prange and Emily O’Connor — quiet.
But the duo delivered back-to-back RBI doubles to kick off the big sixth for New Pal.
Coach Rob Davis had trouble explaining the sudden struggles of his team.
“We just aren’t very good right now,” he said. “This is the time to be not good; we want to be better at sectional time. We had our chances, but we didn’t get the big hits when we needed them.”
Pendleton Heights left 11 runners on base against the Dragons, including the bases loaded in the sixth.
Junior Savannah Hawee had three hits, a stolen base and scored a run for the Arabians.
The previous day, the Arabians scored twice in the first inning and held that 2-0 lead until Connersville scored twice in the seventh and hit a walk-off home run in the eighth; the Spartans beat Pendleton Heights 3-2.
RBI from senior Jade Mollenkopf and junior Kelsey Sturgeon opened the scoring, and Sturgeon made that lead stand up for much of the game with a strong start on the mound.
Sturgeon allowed just six hits and struck out two, but the Spartans pushed across two in the seventh before winning the game in the eighth.
The Arabians managed just four hits in the loss.
Pendleton Heights will try to right the ship today in a scheduled conference game at Mt. Vernon before traveling to Delta for another HHC game Monday.