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Kings of the county

April 27, 2019

La PORTE — Hitting has been a relative constant for New Prairie this baseball season.

Now with the pitching staff behind ace Hunter Robinson taking shape, the prospects for the Cougars are looking even better.

Josh Conley threw five scoreless, two-hit innings for New Prairie with JC Turley finishing off a 9-0 win over La Porte on Friday at Schreiber Field.

“That’s by far Josh’s best outing,” coach Mark Schellinger said. “He mixed it up. He was ahead in the count. When you pitch from ahead and can mix in a good breaking ball, you’re going to have success. We have confidence in Josh. We know he can pitch that way. With JC back (from an elbow injury), we’re feeling good about our pitching. He looked good. He had velocity on his fastball and his breaking ball had some bite. He has a lot of ability. It just gives us more depth.”

Conley struck out six, walking two and allowing two hits.

“I finally got in a rhythm,” he said. “The last few games, I was a little slow. I quickened up my pace a little bit. I got it in the zone. That’s all I need to do, especially with a good defense behind me.”

New Prairie’s white-hot Gavin Kelly still managed to raise his gaudy .636 batting average, singling, doubling, walking twice, scoring three and driving in three to once again fuel the Cougars attack.

“If they’re in the (outside) zone, I’ve just got to go the other way with it,” Kelly said. “We came into this with the right mindset. It’s been our year, but it’s always back and forth with La Porte. I think it was our best game. Our dugout was in the game the whole time.”

Jacob Dockery and Frank Turley each had two hits with Dockery scoring twice and Turley knocking in a pair.

“We talk about mindset all the time,” Schellinger said. “Every day is a new day. Each game is the most important one. We hit the ball early and scored some runs right off the bat.”

LP used five pitchers -- Logan Schroeder, Dave Applegarth, Mason Schroeder, Carson Stalbaum and Zach Ford, who made his varsity debut in the seventh with a scoreless frame. Grant Collins had two of the Slicers’ four hits.

“They’re a good hitting team,” Slicers coach Scott Upp said. “We don’t have the firepower on the mound to stop them. Carson came in and threw strikes. Zach’s deal is he has to find the strike zone, so that was good to see. If there were any positives, that was it. Our defense is coming along. We just took way too many fastballs for strikes. We’ve got to be ready to swing the bat. The disheartening thing is we talk constanrly about that. We’ll keep plugging away.”

The game also served as an American Cancer Society and $433.30 was raised.

New Prairie 9, La Porte 0

Josh Conley and JC Turley combined on the shutout.