By Justin Whitaker
AVON — Plainfield’s Erin Laswell stepped up like seniors are supposed to do.
With the score tied 2-2 at the top of the sixth inning, Laswell, the first batter of the inning, hit a home run over left field to give the Quakers the go-ahead run.
Plainfield scored four more runs in the inning and withstood a furious Avon comeback to win 7-4 in the Hendricks County Tournament semifinals.
Laswell’s hit proved to be the catalyst for the defending Class 4A state champions to defeat the 2011 Class 4A state runner ups.
“It was huge, it set the tone in the sixth,” Plainfield coach Brad Beaman said.
The Quakers’ Mackenzie Jeffries and Kayla Bryant added singles before a Brooke Bryant single and bad toss to first base allowed Jeffries to score.
Senior Maggie Stahl then brought in Kayla and Brooke Bryant on the next at-bat to make the score 6-2.
Mackenzie Reeder scored Stahl two plays later to cap off the five run inning.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on trying to give everything we’ve got in the sixth because it sets the tone for the seventh and we just try and finish that,” Beaman said.
The home run from Laswell shook the Orioles’ defense.
“She hit a great ball and I think we just got a little flustered,” Avon coach Jenny Shayotovich said.
But Avon did not go down without a fight. The Orioles went three up and three down in their turn in the sixth before the Quakers did the same in the seventh.
Senior Sadie Foster scored freshman Brittany Whiteside and then junior Cassidy Larkin scored sophomore Hannah Goddard on a sacrifice fly to make the score 7-4.
Senior Taylar Kelso hit a single and then senior Lizzy Snodgrass was hit in the hand and walked to load the bases with two outs and junior Mackenzie Johnson up to bat.
Johnson sent a ball shallow to centerfield and senior Brooke Bryant made a diving catch to end the game that was close to hitting the outfield grass. Shayotovich instantly protested the call to the two umpires as they ran off the field.
“I saw the ball hit the grass and then bounce into her mitt with her hand bringing it in,” Shayotovich said. “Like I told my girls, we can’t control that part of the game, we can only control so much.”
Shayotovich was proud of the way her team bounced back after a tough sixth inning.
“I love that we had that in us,” she said. “So many times it’s so easy to say, ‘Oh my gosh we’re down five runs this game’s over.’ The fact that we respond says a lot.”
Plainfield now advances to face Cascade in the county championship game at a yet to be determined date.
“We want to keep going obviously,” Beaman said. “It’s one of our goals every year to try and show well in county and try show well in conference and sectionals.”