TERRE HAUTE — Lack of pitching control, fielding mistakes and Terre Haute North's power crushed Plainfield’s hopes of a Sectional 12 baseball title on Tuesday, as the Quakers fell to the Patriots 13-2.
It was a game reminiscent of Butler’s 2011 national championship loss to UConn, as Plainfield followed up a magnificent run with an inexplicable dud in its finale.
“This wasn’t us tonight,” said Plainfield coach Jeff McKeon, whose team won 10 straight coming into Tuesday. “We went through a lull in the middle of this season, but righted the ship the last three weeks. It just wasn’t our night, and we lost to a hell of a team.”
Plainfield’s issues started almost immediately. The Quakers intentionally walked North star catcher T.J. Collett in the first inning, and an error moved the pinch runner into scoring position. A subsequent hit by Cody Maloon made it 1-0.
Plainfield answered right back, as Michael Gulley led off the bottom of the frame with a double and came home two batters later on a passed ball.
The top of the second was disastrous for Plainfield, as North scored on a bases-loaded passed ball, a hit batter and a two-run single.
The next inning essentially ended it, as Collett blasted a grand slam and Lane Dransfield added a two-run home run for an 11-1 lead.
Collett's homer was his third in three sectional games. The sophomore standout had nine combined RBI against Avon on Saturday and Plainfield on Tuesday.
“Can’t take anything away from T.J., because he’s a heck of a player who’ll be playing professional someday,” McKeon said. “On that home run, it was a missed location and he got it.”
Gabe Burkhardt drove in Peyton Jones in the bottom of the third to cut Plainfield’s deficit to nine, but North kicked it back up to 11 in the fifth on the Quakers’ sixth and seventh errors of the game.