The venue and scenery were ideal, but the end result wasn’t for Plainfield at Friday’s Victory Field Classic.
Franklin Central did just enough to get by Plainfield for a 3-1 win, on a cool evening at the home of the Indianapolis Indians. Despite the defeat, it was a night to remember for the Quakers.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Plainfield senior Hunter Smith said. “It was great to be out here with all my teammates and the people I grew up with. The scoreboard didn’t go our way, but it’s something I won’t forget.”
Plainfield coach Jeff McKeon said his squad responded well to the unfamiliar grounds and backdrop.
“It was a great atmosphere and the kids played great today,” he said. “It’s a huge ballpark, and the adrenaline has to come down a little bit because the kids are on a high. I thought they adjusted well to it.”
Plainfield (11-6) gave up two runners in the first inning before retiring three straight. The Quakers’ defense shined in the second, as two good throws by shortstop Justin Fortener to first baseman Gabe Burkhardt shut down Franklin Central.
“Justin was excellent defensively,” McKeon said. “I never question when a ball’s hit to him whether he’ll get the job done.”
The Flashes took the lead in the third on an RBI single by Ben Sprinkle, but Plainfield tied it in the fourth, as Peyton Jones led off with a double and later scored on a single by Smith.
Smith admitted that it took a while to shake off the nerves from playing at the biggest baseball stage Indiana has to offer.
“The first inning when I was catching, I was a little shaky because I wasn’t used to seeing the skyline of downtown Indianapolis,” Smith said. “I think we settled in around the third inning. We wanted to enjoy the moment, but we also had to play the game.”