By Ryan Palencer
After defeating Danville and Cascade, the Tri-West baseball team beat Plainfield 17-7 in five innings on Saturday afternoon to claim the Bruins’ first Hendricks County Tournament Championship in school history.
“I am ecstatic (with the title),” Tri-West coach Ryan Oppy said. “We battled through and scored every inning (in the final), which is one of our goals. We take an aggressive, but patient approach. We get our pitch and do something with that pitch. It’s exciting to see these seniors and this entire team work hard and to stay focused for the entire game and not just the first two innings. We’ve worked hard and came a long way and it’s paying off.”
The Bruins rode a fast start, as they scored three runs in the first inning. Austin Lynn led off the game with a double, and scored on a single by Levi Baumer. Dallas Wolfe then drove in Baumer and Dustin Burks with a single.
In the second, Quentin Garland scored on a double by Matt Pope.
However, the Bruin’ offensive parade was not over. In the third, they scored five times and in the fourth, added three more runs.
The pitching performance of Tyler Carter was dominant through three innings, which is a trend that Oppy credits as being huge all weekend for the Bruins.
“We have some pitchers who have thrown four innings or five innings,” Oppy said. “Luckily, that’s all that we’ve had to play. It’s next man up and next pitcher up. They throw strikes and when they throw strikes, our defense picks up the ball and throws it across the field.
Fundamentals are something that we preach and it’s going well right now.”
Carter ran into some trouble in the fourth with the Quakers, as they crossed the plate seven times in the frame. Matt Spaulding led off with a double and was driven in by Gabe Burkhardt’s single. Greg
Simpson and Michael Gulley each had RBI singles in the inning, while Dillion Hughes drove in two with a triple.
Despite Plainfield’s offensive explosion, the Bruins weathered the storm, added five more runs in the top of the fifth, and had a one, two, three bottom of the frame from Carter to claim the title.
Lynn went 4 for 4, scored four runs, and drove in three more, while Garland also crossed the plate four times. Baumer hit 3 for 5 with four RBI. Pope, Jake Frecker, and Rick Perry each scored twice for the Bruins.
Hughes led the way for the Quakers, going 2 for 2 with a pair of RBI and a run scored.
Plainfield defeated Brownsburg 27-14 earlier in the day to advance to the championship game.
“Our guys were motivated against Brownsburg and they had a mission,” Plainfield coach Jeff McKeon said. “They executed all the way through. The championship game wasn’t the way that I wanted it, but I take my hat off to Tri-West. That is one heck of a ball team there.”
For Tri-West, the win provides a lot of momentum moving forward into its conference season.
“With these three big wins, it puts tons of confidence in our team, not that we didn’t have confidence beforehand,” Oppy said. “It just adds to it. They’ve learned how to win ballgames and to stay on the pedal and keep the momentum going.”