Mitchell’s Ben Seitzinger earns school-record 27th win at the mound against Beech Grove

By Noah Dalton

MITCHELL – Mitchell’s 3-0 victory over Beech Grove on Monday marked a historic night for the school, as the Bluejackets’ record for career wins by a starting pitcher was broken by senior starter Ben Seitzinger, who recorded his 27th win at the mound. The previous record of 26 was held by Dustin Powell and had stood since 1993.

“We want to start Ben because we had had a chance to get that school record and he wanted it,” Bluejackets’ head coach Jerry Chaney said. “27 wins is amazing. When I first looked at that record, I thought there was no way that record would fall. I mean, it’s been 30-something years.”

Seitzinger said he’d been aware the record was in reach throughout the season, but he approached each outing with a one-day-at-a-time mentality, trying to avoid any unnecessary pressure and trusting his defense would help him along the way.

Ben Seitzinger throws a pitch against Beech Grove

“About halfway through the season we knew I had a shot, so it was always in the back of my mind, but I just kept trying to take it one day at a time, not put too much pressure on myself and everything just kind of fell in place,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have a great defense behind me and everything just worked out.”

This win comes amidst a standout season from Seitzinger, who is also Mitchell’s all-time leader in career hits, having broken that record last season after earning his 115th career knock. He holds an unbeaten record as a starter at 9-0 this year, with 94 strikeouts and an ERA of .667 in 63 innings at the hill.

His stellar play this season landed him a spot on the All-Region District M team, along with two of his teammates, Simon Gaines and AJ Sarver, the first time in school history they’ve had three players named to the team.

“I’ve coached at Eastern, BNL and Mitchell and I’ve never had three,” said Chaney. “Only 16 in our region make it. You’re talking about the big schools; Moorseville, Bedford, Bloomington South, Terre Haute South, Terre Haute North, Martinsville, Bloomfield. To get three guys out of 16 on that all-region team was amazing and, of course, Ben and Simon are two of the best that have ever come to Mitchell.”

Simon Gaines drives in a run against Beech Grove

Seitzinger attributed some of his success this season to consistently getting ahead in counts against hitters. He also credited the team’s coaching staff for their pitch calling, as another huge key to what he has been able to accomplish this year.

“It’s just getting ahead of guys, that has been the biggest thing, not getting behind in counts. And then, the biggest thing has been hitting spots, and Coach Simpson and Coach Chaney have been doing a good job of calling pitches. We have a pretty good idea of what we want to do and we don’t really have any controversy in trying to decide what pitches to throw, so that’s been really good,” said Seitzinger.

He earned his record-setting victory on Monday in a complete game shutout over the Hornets, where struck out eight, allowing four hits.

Chaney credited Seitzinger for his efforts on the night, also noting the performance of the team’s defensive, who made key plays throughout the game to pick up outs behind him.

Gibson Glassco looks to throw out a runner after fielding a ground ball

“He pitched a great game. I feel like that’s our best defensive team when he’s on the mound. In the first inning, Kody Earl made a great scooping play or maybe the inning goes on. And then in the second inning, Simon Gaines made a snag on a line drive,” said Chaney. “Our defense was solid all night long. Ashton Luman cut a ball that should have been a double or triple and threw it back in, [Bryson] Zekes threw out a guy, so our defense is looking good.”

Offensively, Mitchell picked up seven hits on the night, with three RBIs. Those coming from Sarver, who helped the team score in the first by batting in a run with a single, Gaines, who brought home a runner with a base hit in the fifth and Ethan Turner, who brought home a runner with a knock in the sixth.

They put runners in positions to score with stolen bases and quality bunts, something that Chaney says will be a key to the team’s postseason success, as they now look ahead to sectional play against Sullivan (12-13-1) in their next outing, looking to defend their Sectional 47 championship from last season.

Mitchell’s AJ Sarver takes second base after a steal against Beech Grove

“If we’re serious about winning like we did last year, we won because we bunted and executed and tonight we wanted to do that too. I knew it was gonna be a tight game. I gave Ashton Luman the bunt there in the fifth inning and he got it perfect. Tremendous baseball,” he said. “That’s baseball. You get two guys on, a guy on, you move them. We were able to steal some base and we did some really nice things, so I’m happy with the way we played.”

Mitchell’s matchup against Sullivan will be a rematch of last year’s sectional finals, which saw the Bluejackets win in walk-off fashion on their home field after completing a four-run comeback in the final frame.

Next Monday, they’ll travel to Sullivan this time looking to replicate last year’s result.

Mitchell’s Ethan Turner runs home to score against Beech Grove

“Sullivan is a great team. They had us last year, down four runs going into the last inning and we were able to come back. Now, they’ve picked up a couple of players since then. They have a freshman that is batting in the three hole for them, he’s a very good hitter. And of course, they have the same squad basically back,” said Chaney.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to play tonight. I wanted to play a quality opponent and I knew Beech Grove would be a quality 3A team. I knew this could have the potential to be a sectional game, and this is the kind of game we have to have. This is what’s going to do it if we’re really going to win it. It’s going to be like this. I don’t expect us to go for 15 hits against Sullivan and we’ve got to play good defense. We’ve got to get the ball down.”

Seitzinger expects a tough matchup again against the Golden Arrows, but he expects they’ll have what it takes to advance to the champion round if they keep up their recent level of play.

“We played them last year and had a good game with them and they pretty much got everybody back. It’s gonna be a tough first game in sectionals, but I think we’re ready and if we just keep playing like we have been, I think we’ll take care of business,” he said.