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April 08, 2010 3:34 am

Pioneers release 2010 schedule

Written by Tribune Staff

New tourneys, more nine-inning games adorn slate

If the Powell Pioneers American Legion baseball team wants to top their 48-win performance from a year ago, the team might have its work cut out for it. Pioneers' coach Mike Jameson unveiled the team's 2010 schedule, featuring a slate of 50-55 regular-season games.

“We're probably a few games short of where we were last year in terms of the number of games,” Jameson said of this year's schedule, noting that some games could still be added.

The Pioneers open the season on May 9 with a doubleheader at Sheridan. The team's 2010 home opener will take place May 21 as Lovell makes the short drive west for a twinbill that will not count as part of the conference standings.

The closest thing to a homestand on the Pioneers' schedule in 2010 will be the team's own tournament — the Heavy Metal Classic — on June 25-27. Beyond that tournament, the Pioneers' longest homestand of the summer is four games, back-to-back doubleheaders against Riverton and Jackson on July 16 and 18. Only one other time during the summer will the team play three consecutive games in Powell.

While the schedule might not feature a protracted home stand this season, it will feature many more nine-inning games than fans witnessed a year ago. An agreement between coaches in the Pioneers' conference means that all conference games this summer will be nine-inning affairs rather than seven-inning games. The change was made with an eye toward the post-season, when all games are nine innings in length.

“At the state meeting, each conference was given the option to do whatever they wished for conference games,” Jameson said. “We talked between us, Cody, Lovell and Jackson and decided we wanted to do nine-inning games.”

In addition to getting a good taste of nine-inning baseball this summer, Pioneer fans will also have plenty of chances to witness tournament baseball. Powell plays in six regular-season tournaments before plunging into post-season play at the district tourney.

The Pioneers' tournament opportunities begin Memorial Day weekend in Billings with a three-day event. Early in June, Powell plays a three-day tournament in Riverton. The team will play in the Billings Aaron's Tournament in mid-June, shipping out four days later to Williston, N.D., for a new four-day event out there.

Powell plays host to the Heavy Metal Classic in late June. July will see the team playing a four-day tournament, although the decision has yet to be made whether the club will accept an invitation to play those days in Casper or whether it will opt for a spot in a Billings tournament field instead.

District tournament play takes place July 22-25. The tournament will be held in Cody this summer.

“Some of these tournaments are definitely new for us,” said Jameson. “We got a lot of invitations to tournaments this year and decided to try some new ones out. Each coach has different connections and scheduling partners, so we just kind of went with what worked best for us as we got to know coaches around the state and region. As a new coach, we just took what we could get and scheduled accordingly.”

In addition to the Heavy Metal Classic, the Pioneers are scheduled for 15 additional home dates in 2010.