No. 8 Bluejackets secure PLAC championship with 10-0 win over West Washington

By Noah Dalton

CAMPBELLSBURG – Mitchell completed an unbeaten season in the Patoka Lake Athletic Coneference on Thursday night, beating West Washington 10-0 to secure sole ownership over this year’s conference championship.

The Mitchell Bluejackets pose together following their 10-0 victory over West Washington, which clinched their PLAC championship

This makes two conference titles in three years for the Bluejackets, who have lost just one game in PLAC play over that span.

Performing well in the conference is a constant goal of the program, according to head coach Jerry Chaney. He felt his team rose to the occasion against the Senators with the potential to secure sole ownership of the PLAC crown on the line.

“I thought the kids came out ready to go tonight. I’m not sure if we were so ready to go against Springs Valley the other night in a nonconference game, but tonight we were ready to go. I’m very proud of the kids. I think that makes them 17-1 in the last three years in conference and something like 21-3 since the seniors have been here in conference. So, that’s pretty good, that’s pretty awesome,” said Chaney.

As the program has continued to find success, reaching new heights last season with a deep postseason run which included sectional and regional championship wins, the expectations have continued to evolve, leading to an almost business-as-usual feeling for the team after their win on Thursday.

“Our coach (Zach) See, the new football coach, he had a good point a while ago. He said, it doesn’t seem the same as two years ago because the expectations are higher now. Even the kids do that too. I mean, if you remember three years ago, where we were at on the field and tonight, we’re supposed to win. I felt like we were the best team in the conference and tonight we showed that,” Chaney continued.

Against West Washington, Mitchell took an early one-run lead in the first inning, with senior Simon Gaines scoring from second base on an error from the Senators’ outfield as they attempted to field a hit from Gibson Glassco.

Gibson Glassco connects on a swing against West Washington

They brought in three more runs in the fourth, nearly batting through their entire lineup as Gaines, AJ Sarver and Kody Earl all batted in runs.

Mitchell carried that momentum into the fifth, scoring six runs to push their lead beyond the 10-run threshold for a mercy rule early ending.

The Bluejackets once again hit through their entire lineup, consistently putting runners on base and bringing them home with timely hits, most of which came with two outs.

In fact, it wasn’t until the Senators had recorded their second out of the frame that Mitchell began to score, eventually scoring all six of their runs in the inning from that point on.

It began with two straight batters being hit by pitches, the second of which occurred as the bags were loaded to force home a run. After that, three straight RBI hits helped push the lead up for the Bluejackets, a two-run single from Sarver, a two-run double from Ben Seitzinger and an RBI-single from Glassco put their exclamation point on the game.

Chaney noted the team’s bunt game as one of the keys to their offensive success, with multiple sacrifice bunts coming from their lineup to help set up early runs.

“I thought the bunt game again was important because this was a tight game and we laid down two or three good bunts that kind of broke their backs and they couldn’t recover from that. And once they got down, I think they kind of folded up the tent, but they were playing a good game up to that point. And they played everybody tough. I mean, I think Springs Valley went 10 innings to beat them or something like that and Valley is a good team. So, we’ll take it and we’ll take the PLAC championship,” said Chaney.

Ben Seitzinger throws a pitch against West Washington

Mitchell’s defense also put up a shutout in the five-inning matchup, behind a strong performance at the mound from Seitzinger, who allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out seven in a complete game at the hill.

“Ben was outstanding. We really felt like if we could score one run here then we could beat them with Ben on the hill unless they hit one out of the park. They’ve got a couple guys that can swing it, but Ben was dominating. I had the one walk, he lost focus there a little bit in the fourth or fifth, and he stepped of the mound, recovered and went back to work,” Chaney said.

“And when they put it in play, our defense has been pretty good too. Even though we got beat the other night, we didn’t make an error, so I was proud of that. We’re gonna have to get a little tougher at the plate, but other than that, it was our team goal to win it and we got that part done and now lets move on.”

Though they were able to cross one milestone off their checklist, the season is not yet over for the Bluejackets, who still have seven regular season games left on the schedule and are actively looking to add another before their first sectional matchup, where they’ll take on Sullivan after both teams received a first round bye.

They’ll look to use these remaining games and practices to hone their skills over the next few weeks, as they attempted to make another deep run in the postseason.

Simon Gaines follows a fly ball off his bat against West Washington

“The focus is going to be to get better. We’re not quite where we were last year at this point, and I think we can get there, we’ve just got to get a little stronger mentally. Get in the cage, get some good rips, get some good batting practice. But our bunt game has been outstanding. Our defense has been good. After we get our defense, our bunt game, and our offense swinging the bats all the time, I think we’ll be good,” Chaney said, comparing this year’s team to where they were last season at the time.

“We’re 13-4 and we haven’t consistently had a game where we all hit. So, maybe we’re getting ready to get really good. It’s going to be on the seniors. I put a lot on the seniors this year and my senior leadership has been outstanding. That’s why I’m so proud of those boys,” he added.