Bluejackets split games with Eastern Greene, 1A No.2 Barr-Reeve at Strike Out Cancer event

By Noah Dalton

MITCHELL – Mitchell played host to the Strike Out Cancer event on Saturday, a charity four-team round-robin showcase, where they battled against sectional opponent Eastern Greene and 1A #2 ranked Barr-Reeve in consecutive games.

The Bluejackets played the first of their back-to-back games against the Thunderbirds, ultimately besting them 7-0, before falling to the Vikings shortly after by a final score of 4-1.

Bluejackets earn shutout win over Eastern Greene in potential sectional preview

Mitchell started the morning with a shutout victory over Eastern Greene, beating them 7-0 behind a strong day at the plate, as well as a standout performance at the mound from senior Ben Seitzinger.

The Bluejackets earned 11 hits, with four runs batted in, led by Simon Gaines, who led all batters with three hits. AJ Sarver, Seitzinger, Gibson Glassco and Ethan Turner each added two. Turner also knocked home a game-high two runs.

“I thought we played an excellent game,” head coach Jerry Chaney said regarding the team’s performance. “I thought our hitting was timely today.”

They began the game with four straight base hits, including a double from AJ Sarver. The first run was scored by Gaines, who reached home on a passed ball. Later in the inning, Turner drove home two on an RBI single to give Mitchell an early 3-0 lead.

The Bluejackets scored again in the bottom of the third, with Glassco stealing home with two outs, after he reached base earlier in the frame due to an error.

They ended their scoring run in the fifth, which began with a lead-off triple from Gaines. He was driven home by a base hit from Sarver in the next at-bat. Sarver scored later in the inning thanks to a single from Glassco. For their final stand of the inning, Mitchell loaded up the bags with two outs, with courtesy runner Gavin Martin eventually being forced home after a balk from Thunderbirds pitcher Ty McKnight.

Seitzinger was lights out on the hill against Eastern Greene, allowing just two hits through a complete game. He put the Thunderbirds away in just 61 pitches, striking out eight.

“Our defense was great. Ben was dominant on the hill. I think he threw like 60 pitches to finish the game, two hits or something like that,” said Chaney. “These last two games, he pitched really well. So, we really feel like we have a good chance with Ben on the hill, and our defense has come along.”

Bluejackets unable to find runs in 4-1 loss to 1A No. 2 Barr-Reeve

It wasn’t long after their game against Eastern Greene that Mitchell had to retake the field to take for their battle against Barr-Reeve, in fact, it was around just an hour of down time between games.

Both teams entered the games boasting identical records on the season, 16 wins, five losses. They also brought a similar level of pedigree to the field based on their success last season, with the Bluejackets reaching semi-state and the Vikings reaching the state finals.

Mitchell’s main goal for the day was to raise money for a good cause, though they also looked to use the opportunity, particularly the game against Barr-Reeve, to give them a post season tune-up as they look ahead toward sectional play in a few weeks.

“This is the game that we’ve been kind of wanting to get in here and play, Barr-Reeve versus us. They went to state finals. We went to the Elite Eight and that’s what I wanted to set this day up to be, an all-in elite eight game and I knew Eastern Greene would be good, so we had three good quality opponents and Orleans just came into play them later,” Chaney said before the game. “But, this game is bigger. It’s for cancer today and we’re trying to raise a lot of money and play well at the same time.”

Unfortunately for the Bluejackets, things just did not go their way against the Vikings.

Despite earning more hits than their opponents, six for Mitchell and four from Barr-Reeve, the Bluejackets struggled to bring runners home, scoring just one run on the afternoon, that coming in the bottom of the first thanks to an RBI single from Sarver, bringing home Gaines from second after he’d led off the inning with a double.

The Vikings batted in two runs in the first to grab an early 2-1 advantage, with Seth Wagler and Jake Pauw providing the RBIs for their team.

Barr-Reeve threatened to score again in the third, putting runners at the corners with no outs after a lead-off triple from Ethan Stoll and a batter being hit by a throw from Gaines, who stood at the mound for Mitchell. The Bluejackets were able to fend off any additional points after catching both runners attempting to steal and grabbing a fly ball to retire the side.

After Mitchell narrowly made their way out of a jam in the third, the Vikings were able to break through again in the top of the next frame, scoring two more runs that would serve as the final runs scored in the outing, aided by some costly miscues from the Bluejackets.

With one out, Braydon Knepp drew a walk to first, later advancing to second on a wild pitch, where he was driven home by Tyler Graber on a base hit to center field. After an out in the next at-bat, Graber stole second and advanced to third on an error from Mitchell, before eventually scoring thanks to another error committed by the Bluejackets.

Sarver was the only Mitchell batter to earn multiple hits in the game, going 2-3 from the plate and picking up the team’s sole RBI for the outing.

Gaines pitched a complete game for the Bluejackets, allowing four hits and three earned runs, picking up two Ks along the way.