By Brent Glasgow
Hendricks County Flyer
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.”
Sprinkle drove in another run in the fifth to put Franklin Central ahead. Nick Cottongim then took over for Plainfield starting pitcher Alec Caprarella, and the Quakers got out of the frame without further damage.
More came in the sixth, however, as Jake Sprinkle drove home Ryne Carnes after a leadoff triple.
Plainfield’s Antonio Lucciola made it to second base with a single and steal in the bottom of the sixth, but that was as close as the Quakers came to scoring the rest of the way.
“It was our sixth loss, but we’ve lost to nothing but good teams,” McKeon said. “We’ve been in most of those games, and I think we’ve played well all year.”
Follow Hendricks County Flyer sports writer Brent Glasgow on Twitter @ BGlasgow37.