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June 05, 2012 8:34 am

Pioneers struggle through weekend

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Cory Heny sends a spray of dirt into the air as he dives headfirst back to first base during Friday baseball action against the Billings Halos. The Pioneers slid to 4-8 over the weekend and will look to snap a three-game skid on Tuesday against Lovell.  Cory Heny sends a spray of dirt into the air as he dives headfirst back to first base during Friday baseball action against the Billings Halos. The Pioneers slid to 4-8 over the weekend and will look to snap a three-game skid on Tuesday against Lovell. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Just one win to show for four games

The Powell Pioneers demonstrated some improvement over the weekend but had little to show for the cause after winning just one of four games played. The Pioneers split with the Billings Halos, winning 8-5 and losing 7-5 on Friday.

On Sunday, Powell was swept by Sheridan for the second time this season, falling by scores of 5-4 and 9-2.

The Pioneers now hold a 4-8 overall record for the summer.

Powell’s one victory came in somewhat bizarre fashion. After falling behind 2-0 early in the opening game of Friday’s twinbill against the Halos, Powell broke things open midway through the game with a seven-run inning that came without the benefit of a base hit.

The Pioneers cashed in on a number of walks and hit batters, as well as one timely error in the field by the Halos, to send 12 batters to the plate and bring across seven runs. The Billings team rallied to within a pair of runs, 7-5, during its next at-bat, but another late Pioneer score provided some insurance as Seth Gilmore threw the final inning for a save. Olie Olson picked up the win on the hill.

The nightcap followed a familiar script as the Pioneers fell behind early once again. This time, there would be no big rally as the team fell by a 7-5 margin. Cory Heny took the loss on the hill for Powell.

On Sunday, the Pioneers did a better job of swinging the bats early on against Sheridan. Unfortunately, many of the balls found their way directly to Trooper fielders, leaving the club with little to show for it.

Sheridan crept out to a 5-0 lead with many of the runs coming against Pioneers starter Bryce Wright. Hayden Cragoe finally broke Powell into the hit column and also came in to relieve Wright to help stall Sheridan’s scoring, but it was Japanese exchange student Sho He Sato’s two-out single that drove home the Pioneers’ first runs and provided a spark of life to the club.

Powell went on to score another run to trim Sheridan’s lead to 5-3. After Gage Henderson relieved for Powell to keep the Troopers stuck on five runs in the seventh inning, the Pioneers proceeded to load up the bases in the bottom of the seventh. The team managed just one run, off a wild pitch, to fall one run short.

The Pioneers played the doubleheader without a number of their older players as Olie Olson and Josh Cragoe were out of town participating in the Wyoming Shrine Bowl. Jake Beuster, another Pioneers veteran, was also not present for Sunday’s encounter with the Troopers. The team was also missing some younger players for various reasons.

Due to the shortage of bodies, as well as an upcoming conference doubleheader, the Pioneers raided the Babe Ruth ranks and threw 15-year-old Matt Brown on the hill against the Troopers. They were rewarded with a performance that belied his age as Brown held Sheridan to just two runs in four innings of work, leaving the game with a 2-2 tie showing on the scoreboard.

The Troopers caught fire late in the contest, plating seven unanswered runs as the Pioneers continued to struggle at bringing runners in to score.

The weekend results drop the Pioneers to 4-8 overall this summer. Powell returns to action on Tuesday night when Lovell comes to town for a conference doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. The Pioneers will also travel to Cody for a tournament this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Powell will face Cody, Lovell, the Billings Halos and the Billings Angels in that tournament field. Olson and Josh Cragoe will be unavailable for much of the week due to ongoing practice for the Wyoming Shrine Bowl.