Strong pitching and timely hits help #3 Bluejackets beat Paoli 7-2

By Noah Dalton

MITCHELL – Coming off their first loss of the season on Tuesday, a 12-7 defeat at the hands of Corydon Central, Mitchell High School bounced back in their next appearance on the field, besting conference opponent Paoli 7-2 on Friday night.

The Bluejackets were led to victory on an abnormally windy evening at Gary Seitzinger Field by strong performances from their two pitchers, Ben Seitzinger and Simon Gaines, who shared time at the hill in the matchup.

Seitzinger started the game, throwing the first four innings, where he struck out 10 hitters and allowed two hits. Gaines took over after the fourth inning, striking out five and giving up just one hit to close out the win.

Ben Seitzinger winds up for a pitch against Paoli

“I thought Ben and Simon were outstanding. I don’t think they had a walk in the game, 15 Ks, three hits. And a couple of those hits probably don’t hit on regular today that’s not so windy. So, I thought our pitching was dominant,” Mitchell head coach Jerry Chaney said. “Outstanding pitching performance by Ben and Simon, and they combined and stayed under 100 pitches together, so that’s good.”

After three strikeouts from Seitzinger to retire the side in the top of the first, the Bluejackets scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to leap out to an early advantage.

The first two batters for Mitchell, Gaines, and AJ Sarver reached base with walks, setting up the next to the plate, Seitzinger, who doubled to center field, bringing Gaines home from second. Later in the inning, two runners (Bryson Zeeks, walk; Gavin Martin, courtesy runner) scored courtesy of an error committed by Paoli.

Justin Thorton rounds third after hitting a home run against Mitchell

The Rams found their first run of the night in the third inning, scoring via a solo, lead-off homer from Justin Thorton. It was their second hit of the night, along with a single from Kirkland Hughes in the second inning.

From that point onward it was almost all Bluejackets.

They added two more runs in the bottom of the third; scoring from RBI singles from Zeeks, who brought home Sarver (reached via lead-off single), and Kody Earl, who gave way for Martin to score his second run of the night as a courtesy runner.

They added another run in the bottom of the fourth. Gaines reached first base on a single, before moving to second on a passed ball. From there, he rounded third and crossed home plate on another base hit from Mitchell, this time from Sarver, putting them up 6-1.

Simon Gaines swings at a pitch against Paoli

The Rams answered back with a run of their own in the next frame. Trey Rominger brought Paoli their third hit of the night, slamming a single to right field to reach first base. Due to catcher’s interference in the following at-bat, he was shifted to second, as Garrett Hickman overtook first. From there, Rominger was able to score following an error from the Bluejackets, making it a 6-2 game.

After that, Mitchell got a bit of insurance in the bottom of the sixth, with Ashton Luman scoring on a steal of home after he and Seitzinger initiated dual steals from first and third base, giving him a chance to reach home as the Rams attempted to stop the runner at second base.

In total, the Bluejackets earned nine hits, batting in four runs to put them out ahead.

AJ Sarver celebrates with Ethan Turner after scoring a run against Paoli

“The kids stepped up, we had some timely hits,” said Chaney. “I thought the wind actually hurt us offensively more than it did Paoli because I thought we hit some balls that should have been hits that ended up being caught but that’s okay. It’s a windy day, and it was a good win.”

This win puts them at 2-0 in the Patoka Lake Athletic Conference, with their next matchup also a PLAC game, as they look towards taking on Crawford County on Monday night.

“We’re really focused this year on winning the conference championship. The loss to Corydon was untimely, but we don’t want to miss a conference game, and the kids really stepped up tonight.”