Baseball reflects on state win, contemplates future


Jody O'Reel

Bengals stand with Rockton Hononegah Community High School pledging allegiance before the semi-final morning game on June 19.

After beating Lake Park to win the Class 4A state baseball title last spring, Plainfield East Baseball took the first state championship in baseball for Plainfield East. East Side News sat down with the coach and a few players to reflect on that win and look forward to the next season.

What was it like to win State? How was that experience?

Adam O’Reel, head baseball coach and PE/Health/Driver’s Ed division chair: “For us as coaches, I think there was a relief and an excitement for the players themselves. I was fortunate  enough to win three [state championship games] when I was in high school, so for me it was more the enjoyment of seeing them win it for the first time.”

Was there a moment in the game that you felt you had already won or lost?

Christian Mitchelle, senior: “…Since I was pitching at the time in the seventh inning, after I got that first strike out, I knew the game was done.”

What are your future hopes for PEHS baseball? What’s next?

Nathan Rudd, senior: “I personally would love for the coaches and the upcoming talent to be able to build off of this, and I hope it’s the first of many.”

How will you work with your team to achieve those goals?

Brady Louck, junior: “We practice and workout … like four or five times a week as a team. … A bunch of us will do stuff outside of school together to get better.”

How do you think the team can improve?

O’Reel: “It’s a new team, so I think the biggest thing is finding out what works well with the new group of guys, what makes them kinda gel. Playing the puzzle and putting the pieces together with this new team, I think that’s a huge thing every year. It’s seeing what works and what will keep that team moving on in a positive direction.”

How can you improve individually?

Louck: “I would say more practicing with each other outside of actual practice and coming closer as a team.”

How did your mindset change from the season’s beginning to end?

Mitchelle: “In the beginning of the season, we started off very slow. It was almost like some guys didn’t want to be there. Practices were long because we were doing the same thing. Then we kinda started to pick it up a little bit, and then we went on a really big losing streak in the middle of the season. Then we went on a big winning streak. Once the playoffs hit, after we got through those first few games we knew we could make it pretty far. It was just a lot better; practices were a lot more fun. We were just as a whole team playing a lot more loose.”

How did this win change your view on baseball?

Mitchelle: “Anything is possible. I’m going to be honest. When we played Brother Rice [high school], they had a lot more talent than us. But we just wanted it more.”

What lesson do you think you and the team learned from the championship game?

O’Reel: “That if you stick together as a group and you don’t point fingers and blame others, and you just keep working and moving ahead, good things happen. I think that was a perfect example of what we did.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

O’Reel: “This is truly a team effort thing, and I know some players got a lot more recognition than maybe some others because of how well they did perform. It truly took the entire team and their positive attitude, [whether] they were playing every day or not. That’s really what kept us going.”

Rudd: “Go Bengals.”