Plainfield East beats Lake Park to win the Class 4A state baseball title, its first championship in any sport

Plainfield East beats Lake Park to win the Class 4A state baseball title, its first championship in any sport

Plainfield East players celebrate winning the IHSA 4A State Title game against Lake Park. | Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Plainfield East baseball players Gavin Schmitt and Christian Mitchelle aren’t sure if their school even has a trophy case. 

Plainfield East baseball players Gavin Schmitt and Christian Mitchelle aren’t sure if their school even has a trophy case.

“We’ll find one,” Schmitt said. “And if there’s not one we will make it. This is going in there I’m sure.”

Schmitt started the game and earned the win and Mitchelle pitched the final 1 ⅓ to close the door on Lake Park and give the Bengals a 6-5 win in the Class 4A state baseball championship game on Saturday at DuPage Medical Group Field in Joliet.

It’s the first state trophy in any sport for Plainfield East, which opened in 2008.

“It’s so special,” Schmitt said. “The whole team can’t even believe that we did it. It’s something that we’re never going to forget for our whole lives.”

Schmitt isn’t the only one that can’t believe the Bengals’ remarkable run. Plainfield East (19-15) started the season 5-12 and lost the last three games of the regular season. The Bengals entered the playoffs as the No. 13 seed in their sectional.

“If you would have told me this in May I would have looked at you like you had three heads,” Plainfield East coach Adam O’Reel said.

O’Reel always knew his team had the pitching to make a run. Sophomore Brady Louck struck out 12 in six innings of the semifinal win against Rockton Hononegah earlier on Saturday.

“We had all this pitching,” O’Reel said. “We just had to figure out how to pick the baseball up because we were struggling defensively so bad. We were fielding at like a 75 percent clip. We made some changes and found where guys fit.”

The Bengals jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the title game but allowed five runs in the sixth inning to let Lake Park (33-4) back into the game.

 Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times
Plainfield East’s Gavin Schmitt (8) pitches during the game against Lake Park.

Louck was 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored and Mitchelle added two hits, two RBI and a run for Plainfield East.

“We knew we were better than a 13 seed but also with being 13 we had nothing to lose,” Mitchelle said. “So we had no fear going out to play all these better teams.”

“We are only about 12 years old,” O’Reel said. “All the alumni that have come up and started this and helped us move on, they are part of this. It’s not this team only. They got us to it. These guys just finished the deal. I thank them all. It’s unreal. We were the running joke for awhile. We still didn’t hit 20 wins.”