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Fairfield County well represented at Lacrosse Classic at Citi Field

Published 4:10 pm, Monday, March 18, 2013
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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 was full of about a dozen middle-school students throwing lacrosse balls back and forth. A lacrosse cage sat in center field and lacrosse boundary lines were painted over the outfield, as well as over a 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. In the second game, Colgate beat Michigan 10-7.

Playing for Holy Cross was Sean Wilkerson (Ridgefield), while Charlie Keady (Darien), Sean Sutton (Greenwich), Peter Kraus (New Canaan) and Mike Francia (Wilton) played for Michigan. John Baker (Darien), Eric Foote (Greenwich), Matt Yeager (Westport), Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn (Wilton) and Matt Baker (Ridgefield) played for Colgate.

"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 (Mike) 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."

Kraus was the only local player to tally a goal, scoring in the second quarter for Michigan.

Kraus said that 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 others scored on Sunday, was marked by the raising of the giant apple beyond the center-field fence, something normally reserved for Mets home runs.

Sutton that 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."

scott.ericson@scni.com

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