No. 6 Bluejackets advance to sectional finals thanks to 11th inning walk-off against Linton-Stockton

By Noah Dalton

MITCHELL – After winning an 11-inning thriller against Linton-Stockton on Monday morning, Mitchell High School have advanced to the finals of their sectional group, where they will take on Sullivan, who defeated Eastern Greene later in the afternoon to advance.

The Bluejackets found themselves trailing for the majority of the game against the Miners, dropping five runs through four innings to leave the score at 4-1, after Mitchell’s AJ Sarver was able to score after an error from Linton’s defense in the first inning.

They carried that deficit all the way into the bottom of the seventh inning, where they began to storm their way back into the game. With just one out, the Bluejackets managed to load the bases, with Sarver and Ashton Luman earning base hits, as well as Kody Earl drawing a walk to leadoff the inning.

In the next at-bat, a walk from Ben Seitzinger forced home Earl from third. After that, a base hit from Carsyn Herald gave way for Luman and Sarver to score, putting Mitchell now only trailing by one run, 5-4, with the tying runner now at third.

A pitch from Miners’ thrower Nathan Frady connected with Gibson Glassco, sending him to first in the following at-bat, shifting Herald to second and loading the bases for Ethan Turner, who drew a walk to force home Seitzinger for the tying run.

Ben Seitzinger pumps up the home Mitchell crowd after scoring the tying run in the bottom of the seventh inning

Though the Bluejackets weren’t able to capitalize on the remaining runners on base, closing the inning on two straight outs without scoring the winning run, they managed to keep fighting and save their season at the last possible moment, at least until the start of extra innings.

To leadoff the top of the eighth for Linton, Ethan Hall managed to reach third base after a fielding error from Mitchell, their sixth of the game to that point. The Miners were unable to bring him home before the end of the inning, with Mitchell recording three straight outs, keeping him at third after each one.

Neither team had a similarly dangerous threat to score until the bottom of the 10th inning, when the Bluejackets had two straight batters, Turner and Bryson Zeeks reach base to begin play. Two outs later, Mitchell’s Simon Gaines was intentionally walked by Linton, loading the bases with two outs for Sarver, who struck out to end the inning.

The run drought, which had lasted for the first three extra innings was finally broken in the top of the 11th by the Miners, who had Frady double on a deep fly ball to center-field to start things off. The Bluejackets next intentionally walked Luke McDonald, putting runners on first and second for Jaxon Walker, who singled to score courtesy-runner Tyson Walker from second base, giving them a one-run lead and again putting Mitchell in a score-or-lose situation in the bottom of the inning.

With their backs against the wall and season in jeopardy once again, the Bluejackets continued to fight. Leading off the inning for them was Seitzinger, who walked on four straight balls. He was brought around to third after a double from Herald in the next at-bat.

Mitchell’s Carsyn Herald swings during an at-bat against Linton-Stockton

With Glassco stepping to the plate with the winning run at second, Linton decided to intentionally walk him, loading the bases with no outs.

Their plan worked, at least briefly, with them recording two straight outs, sending Earl to the plate with his team’s season on the line.

In a six pitch at-bat, Earl managed to draw a walk, forcing Seitzinger home from third to tie the game up once again at 6-6.

Next up was Luman, who hit a ground ball to the shortstop, beating the throw at first for a base hit that allowed Herald to score the winning run from third, walking it off for Mitchell to send them to the next round.

Ashton Luman celebrates his walk-off with assistant coach Danny Reynolds

Despite the multiple tough, uphill battles that the team faced in this game, Bluejackets’ head coach Jerry Chaney said his team was determined, constantly finding another gear when they needed it most against the Miners to keep their championship hopes alive.

“My pastor says we’re highly favored and man, we were almost done and we came back. We got another life and pulled it back,” he said. “So, I’m proud of the boys. They never quit. They never stopped, they just kept fighting, fighting fighting, dig, dig, dig and we got the job done.”

In addition to him commending the team’s effort, he noted clutch hits like Herald’s double and Luman’s walk-off, as well as the pitching performances on the day from Seitzinger and Gaines, who combined for 165 pitches over the course of the long semi-final matchup.

“I thought Simon came in and relieved Ben, you know, Ben threw 111 the other day and his arm was a little tired. You’ve still gotta go with him and and Simon, who’s been banged up, came in and fought, fought fought, fought fought and we were able to get the win,” said Chaney. “Great job by Ashton Luman, putting the ball in play and guys getting on, moving them over. Carson had a big double there in the last inning, huge man. We had some big breaks and we’ll take them.”

Mitchell’s Simon Gaines throws a pitch against Linton-Stockton

Linton has previously been a thorn in the side of Mitchell, eliminating them from the postseason the previous two years, something that added a little extra to this win for the Bluejackets.

“My goal since I’ve been here is not to back down from Linton. We backed down when I first got here, we don’t back down anymore. Tonight, we got them. We beat a good team, both good teams, both deserved to win but tonight was our night, last year was theirs,” he said.

Next, they’ll face the Golden Arrows (13-16-1) later in the same evening, starting that game at 7 p.m.

After the morning’s war with Linton, the Bluejackets will enter the game tired, particularly at the mound with their two top pitchers having handled the entirety of the 11-inning marathon. With just one win remaining to take the sectional, Chaney said the team will need to all step up to help get the job done.

“Well, we knew we had to win three. Ok, we’ve got two out of the way, we’ve got to come back now. We used a lot of pitching, so it’s going to have to be a team effort and again, we’re going to have to hit the ball,” Chaney said.

Mitchell head coach Jerry Chaney speaks to members of his team during a break in the action

This sectional championship is one of the team’s top goals in what has been a historically successful season for Mitchell, as they now sit at a school-record 24 wins on the year.

“That’s a big one for us, that’s what we’re chasing,” Chaney said about winning the sectional. “We’ve got a lot of goal we’re trying to get to and the boys understand that and I’m just super proud of them.”


Linton-Stocktonmore stats
R Goodman511000
J. Walker601102
Brayden Husband611003
T Walker010000

Batting2B: Frady, Boyd
TB: Brayden Husband, McDonald, Frady 3, J. Walker, Boyd 2, R Goodman
RBI: McDonald 2, Frady, J. Walker, Boyd
ROE: Brayden Husband, McDonald, Frady, J. Walker, Hall
FC: Frady, Miller
HBP: McDonald, R Goodman
SB: J. Walker, R Goodman, Miller 2
CS: McDonald
TotalsTeam QAB: 15 (30.00%)
Fields 2, Brayden Husband 2, McDonald 2, Frady 2, Boyd 2, R Goodman 3, Miller 2

Team LOB: 11FieldingE: Frady, Auberry

Mitchellmore stats
Simon Gaines401010
AJ Sarver522011
Ben Seitzinger420121
Carsyn Herald612201
Gibson Glassco301021
Ethan Turner501112
Bryson Zeeks500003
Kody Earl310123
Ashton Luman512112
Jaydan King000000
Connor Teague000000
Aiden Premo

Batting2B: Carsyn Herald
TB: Simon Gaines, Gibson Glassco, Carsyn Herald 3, Ashton Luman 2, AJ Sarver 2, Ethan Turner
RBI: Kody Earl, Carsyn Herald 2, Ashton Luman, Ben Seitzinger, Ethan Turner
SAC: Kody Earl
ROE: Carsyn Herald, Bryson Zeeks
HBP: Simon Gaines, Gibson Glassco, Bryson Zeeks
SB: AJ Sarver, Bryson Zeeks
CS: Connor Teague
TotalsTeam QAB: 23 (42.59%)
Kody Earl 4, Simon Gaines 2, Gibson Glassco 2, Carsyn Herald 4, Ashton Luman, AJ Sarver 4, Ben Seitzinger 3, Ethan Turner 2, Bryson Zeeks

Team LOB: 12FieldingE: Simon Gaines, Gibson Glassco, Carsyn Herald, Ashton Luman 2, Ethan Turner

Linton-Stocktonmore stats

PitchingL: Frady
HBP: McDonald 2, Frady
Pitches-Strikes: McDonald 120-72, Frady 86-52
Groundouts-Flyouts: McDonald 2-5, Frady 4-4
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: McDonald 13-27, Frady 14-27

Mitchellmore stats
Ben Seitzinger3.068.662241520
Simon Gaines8.097.680522420

PitchingW: Simon Gaines
HBP: Simon Gaines, Ben Seitzinger
WP: Ben Seitzinger
Pitches-Strikes: Simon Gaines 97-66, Ben Seitzinger 68-45
Groundouts-Flyouts: Simon Gaines 10-9, Ben Seitzinger 1-1
First pitch strikes-Batters faced: Simon Gaines 20-33, Ben Seitzinger 10-17