Linn County baseball Mustangs’ opener slips away to BKN Thunder in ninth

As reported to LCL

MENDON – Senior star Hunter Stockwell of Northwestern High School and the BKN Thunder co-op baseball program shared by Chariton County schools Brunswick, Keytesville and Northwestern stroked a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning to give his team a 7-6 comeback victory over the visiting Linn County Mustangs Monday.

The contest was the 2021 season opener for both squads.

H. Stockwell was the Thunder’s starting pitcher and got tagged for a solo home run by Mustang Cody Murrell in the top of the first inning to give Linn County a quick lead. However, that was one of only four LCHS hits on the day.

Still, the northwest Linn County club still led by a run, 5-4, at the field in northwest Chariton County going to the bottom of the seventh and final scheduled inning.

However, the Thunder got a runner into scoring position and Northwestern sophomore Gage Bell drove him in with a single, Northwestern director of athletics Eric Hoyt reported, tying the score and forcing extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth, with Hayden Harms, also a NHS 10th grader, now throwing for the co-op hosts after H. Stockwell worked four, Linn County eased back in front by a run, only to have two Thunder players reach base ahead of the big senior H. Stockwell. He tagged a 2-1 pitch for the double which sent both runners home for the victory.

H. Stockwell went three for four at the plate with at least three runs batted in, having swatted a fourth-inning home run. On the mound, he struck out nine Mustangs in his four innings, surrendering only two hits and two runs.

Bell, who worked the fifth and sixth innings hitlessly on the hill behind H. Stockwell, had a couple of hits, Hoyt reports, and stole three of the seven bases the hosts pilfered.

Harms twirled the last three innings for the Thunder, allowing three runs on two hits, but ended up getting credit for the victory instead of tagged with a loss on the walk-off hit. He did fan seven Mustangs among the nine outs he got.

The Linn County baseball team was to host Brookfield Tuesday, but that was rained out. On Thursday, the Mustangs were scheduled for a trip to Atlanta for Tri-County Conference play. LCHS is scheduled to host North Shelby today at 5 p.m.

The BKN Thunder schedule had it due to visit non-league opponent Westran this past Friday at 5 p.m. before Northwestern hosted the Carroll-Livingston Activity Association Tournament Saturday. The Thunder are to visit the other Chariton County school, Salisbury, tomorrow.