Fairfield County well represented at Lacrosse Classic at Citi Field
FLUSHING, N.Y. -- Citi Field appeared like it would for any New York Mets game with the smell of hot dogs and pretzels hanging in the air, ushers showing people to their seats and fresh lines painted on the field.
But look inside the bullpen where the Mets starting pitcher would normally be warming up and things were different.
Instead of a pitcher throwing, the bullpen in centerfield was full of about a dozen middle-school students throwing lacrosse balls back and forth.
Stepping out of the bullpen, a lacrosse cage sat in center field and lacrosse boundary lines were painted over the outfield and the portion of the infield where the shortstop would be.
For one day, Citi Field was transformed into a lacrosse haven for the inaugural Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic, featuring four NCAA Division I programs and several players from Fairfield County.
In the opening game, Holy Cross knocked off Navy 7-5 and in the second game Colgate beat Michigan 10-7.
Playing for Holy Cross was Sean Wilkerson of Ridgefield while Charlie Keady of Darien, Sean Sutton of Greenwich, Peter Kraus of New Canaan and Mike Francia of Wilton played for Michigan and John Baker of Darien, Eric Foote of Greenwich, Matt Yeager of Westport, Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn of Wilton, Matt Baker of Ridgefield and Kevin Adams of Cheshire played for Colgate.
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Kraus was the only local player to tally a goal, scoring in the second quarter for Michigan.
Kraus said playing at Citi Field was a unique experience.
"It was a little different from playing at Sun Life, a football stadium, " Kraus said. "We had to get used to the dirt on the side of the field, but it was a great experience in front of a pretty big crowd. But once the game starts we are not really looking at the stands anymore, you just focus in on the game."
Kraus' goal, like all the goals scored Sunday, was marked by the raising of the giant apple in the hat in centerfield, something normally reserved for Mets home runs.
Sutton said playing in front of friends and family was very important to him as one of the few seniors on the Michigan roster.
"We had a lot of extended family here. Like 40 friends and family," Sutton said. "It was absolutely fantastic because it is one of the first times in college that I have come back East to play, so, I really got up for this game. The venue was fantastic; getting up for this game was not the problem."
Michigan has struggled in just its second year as a varsity sport, but Colgate is once again in the thick of the Patriot League and needed to focus on winning while still trying to soak up the atmosphere.
"The atmosphere was great and emotions were high, everything I expected it to be," Yeager said. "It was really emotional at the start, but once the game starts you settle in and tune out the attractions and crowd. Coach Murphy really stressed to us that this is a business trip and we needed to come out with a `W' no matter what the distractions were."