Perhaps later this week or early next, the pain will subside. But for now, the hurt lingers.
Expecting to extend its season to at least the semistate, the Indian Creek baseball team fell short of its goal. In the most unlikely and disappointing fashion.
Tied with Northview in the top of the seventh inning, the Braves inexplicably broke down in the final frame and lost 11-4 in Monday’s title game of the Class 3A Crawfordsville Regional.
For first-year coach Eddie Willis, the way the Braves lost was more crushing than the loss itself.
Errors, coupled with pitching miscues, triggered the defeat.
“The way we ended, it’s not the way we play,” Willis said. “It’s not the way I play. It was really out of character, the sloppiness and the chippiness of our kids.
“Kids who don’t usually make errors …”
And so it went for the Braves, whose goal of contending for a state championship collapsed in the space of a single inning.
But disappointment notwithstanding, the season was still exceptional, one the Braves can no doubt build on.
Indian Creek finished 18-3, the best record in team history.
Along the way, the Braves beat Class 4A rivals Greenwood and Whiteland during the regular season and earned their first sectional championship in 43 years.
Unranked all season, the Braves had the fewest losses in Class 3A heading into the postseason and, once they got there, continued winning all the way up to the regional final.
Although the season ended there, Indian Creek proved it was indeed one of Class 3A’s top teams.
Throughout the spring, the Braves benefited from a deep pitching staff, timely hitting and efficient defense — qualities they should still be able to rely on next season.
Though Indian Creek loses four seniors to graduation — Sam Willis, Tyler Parks, Jarrett Rozzi and Zack Winsby — it expects to return all of its top pitchers and the bulk of its top hitters.
But as promising as the future looks, the present is still tough for the Braves to digest.
“Reality, it is a good season,” Eddie Willis said. “It’s still tough to swallow. I’m just at a loss for words. I really am.”