Class 4A, No. 10 Shelbyville has faced little adversity in getting off to a 15-1 start this season.
On Thursday at 4A No. 4 New Palestine, the Golden Bears struggled to play a clean game and lost an opportunity to clinch at least a share of the Hoosier Heritage Conference championship.
The Dragons got a strong pitching performance from University of Louisville recruit Sam Booe, produced timely hits and did not commit an error in collecting its second win of the week over a state-ranked opponent, 4-3.
The Golden Bears got off to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Kylee Edwards led off the game with a base hit and Karissa Hamilton delivered her 16th home run of the season.
The top of the third inning proved pivotal, though. After intentionally walking Hamilton to load the bases with no outs, Booe was able to set down Katie Mathies, Addisenn Weaver and Cheyenne Eads without a run scoring.
Then the Dragons (16-0, 3-0 HHC) started chipping away with help from a Shelbyville defense that committed five errors.
New Palestine scored single runs in the third and fourth innings to tie the game and took the lead in the fifth, 3-2.
Shelbyville (15-2, 5-1 HHC) tied the game in the top of the sixth then was left stung by a controversial call in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs, Hamilton appeared the make a diving catch in centerfield that was ruled a trap. That allowed what proved to be the game-winning run to score.
Booe tossed the complete game, allowing six hits while striking out eight. She was the winning pitcher Wednesday as well after defeating 4A No. 7 Center Grove, 1-0.
Eads scattered eight hits and allowed just two earned runs while taking the loss.
Shelbyville will need help to get at least a share of the HHC title. The Golden Bears’ final conference game is Tuesday against Mt. Vernon (11-2, 3-1 HHC).
New Palestine has four HHC games left on its schedule.
The Dragons have one more ranked opponent this week. Top-ranked Roncalli (14-0) visits New Palestine for a 10 a.m. game Saturday.
Shelbyville is back in action today at Batesville (6-5).
Next week, the Golden Bears host Whiteland Monday, Mt. Vernon Tuesday, travel to Hamilton Heights Thursday and host Triton Central Friday before getting its marquee matchup with Roncalli on May 11.
Shelbyville has added a road contest at Center Grove on May 20.