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August 11, 2008 2:01 pm

Title hunt ends early

Written by Tribune Staff

Riverton ousts Pioneers from state tournament
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Powell base runner Auston Carter (left) gets past Cheyenne Hawks' catcher Cody Farrell en route to scoring a run during the opening round of the Wyoming State A Legion Baseball Tournament at Powers Field in Cheyenne last Thursday. Michael Smith/Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
An unexpected 30-plus win season came to a close for the Powell Pioneers during a third-round, loser-out matchup against Riverton in the Wyoming State A Legion Baseball Tournament in Cheyenne Friday afternoon.
The Raiders emerged victorious in the matchup by edging Powell 8-7. Adding to the frustration for the Pioneers was the fact that they had notched a 5-1 record against the Raiders prior to last week. During the West District Tournament, the qualifier for the state event, Powell pounded Riverton 12-1.
“It was tough to lose to a team we had played well against all season,” said Pioneer head coach Jeff Young, whose team finished the tournament with a 1-2 mark and tied with Gillette for fifth place. “You have to give Riverton credit. They got things going at the right time, and they made it to the championship game. Riverton deserved to be there, but it made all of us kind of sick because we felt like we should have beaten them, especially looking back at what we had done against them earlier in the season.”
The Pioneers (33-21) sent starting pitcher Grant Geiser to the mound in the contest and provided him with plenty of run support early. After falling behind following Riverton's first trip to the plate, Powell struck for three runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the second to stake a 5-1 advantage.
Powell, trailing 1-0 following a run-scoring single by Riverton's Matt Raymond, opened the bottom of the first inning with a single by Gianluca Giarrizzo. The Pioneers went on to load the bases and set the table for Tyler Dahlgren, who hit a hard line drive to the outfield. The ball hit off the glove of the left fielder and was officially scored as an error that allowed three runs to score. The play occurred with two outs in the inning.
The Pioneers got one RBI each from Geiser and Brandon Sullivan in the second inning to move ahead 5-1. However, Riverton turned the momentum and the score in its favor in the ensuing inning. After striking out the first batter of the third inning, Geiser surrendered a walk and a single. That set the stage for Riverton standout Trevor Wilson, who blasted a three-run home run and cut Powell's advantage to 5-4. Another walk and a single followed by a two-run double and an RBI-single moments later helped the Raiders charge ahead 7-5. Riverton finished the third inning with six runs on five hits and two walks.
“We had that one bad inning,” Coach Young said. “It's not like we made a lot of errors either like we did against Douglas earlier. (Riverton) just took advantage of some walks and got some big hits.”
Riverton held its two-run advantage until the bottom of the sixth when Powell struck for a run on an RBI-single by Geiser.
In the top of the seventh, Powell sent Jameson to the mound in relief after Geiser walked the first batter he faced. Jameson quickly retired two Raiders, but a wild pitch allowed Riverton to get its eighth run of the game. That insurance run proved to be valuable as Powell picked up one more run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI-single by Trent Gillett. That run, however, was all Powell could muster in its last trip to the plate as Wilson, pitching in relief, got the third out of the inning with the tying run at first base.
For Powell, Geiser was tagged with the loss after six innings of work. He allowedeight hits and five walks. He also finished with eight strikeouts.
At the plate, Powell finished with eight hits, including two each by Giarrizzo and Geiser. Pioneers finishing with one hit each were Jameson, Tyler Dahlgren, Gillett and Auston Carter. Geiser led the team in RBIs with two, while Gillett and Sullivan finished with one each.
Powell 8, Cheyenne 5
The Pioneers played their first game of the tournament last Thursday. The matchup was originally scheduled for Wednesday evening, but a series of rain delays forced the contest to be moved to Thursday morning.
Powell opened the matchup with singles by Giarrizzo and Jameson and a two-run triple by Geiser. A walk by Erik Brimhall and a sacrifice and RBI by Sullivan left Cheyenne facing a 3-0 deficit early.
The Hawks picked up a run on one hit against Jameson, the starter, in the bottom of the first inning, but Powell tacked on four more runs in the top of the third. Geiser led off that inning with a double, and Sullivan later added a one-out single. Gillett, after Powell's second out of the inning, delivered a two-run single for a 5-1 Powell advantage. Carter, the next batter, walked, and Andrew Young reached first base after being hit by a pitch. That loaded the bases for Giarrizzo, who laced a two-run single for a 7-1 lead. The scoring barrage ended with Jameson recording the third out but not before the Pioneers had struck for four runs on four hits.
Cheyenne got a run in the bottom of the third to close the gap to 7-2 and added three more runs in the sixth inning. A leadoff walk followed by a Pioneer error helped fuel the Hawks' late comeback attempt. After a second Powell error in the inning, Jameson retired three straight batters to get out of the jam.
An RBI-single by Sullivan in the top of the seventh gave Powell an 8-5 cushion, and that was more than enough for Jameson, who retired the final three batters he faced to seal the victory.
Jameson ended the game having surrendered just four hits and two walks. He also struck out seven Hawks.
The offense for Powell was paced by Giarrizzo, who finished with four hits. Geiser added two hits while Jameson, Brimhall, Sullivan, Gillett and Carter added one each. Giarrizzo, Geiser, Sullivan and Gillett also had two RBIs each during the eight-hit attack for Powell.
“We were feeling pretty good about ourselves at that point,” Coach Young said. “When Scotty is on the mound, we believe we're going to win. We took care of business, but I think having to play a second game Thursday ended up hurting us. We had a little bit of a letdown against Douglas.”
Powell having to play two games in one day was a product of Wednesday's rain-delayed contest with Cheyenne.
Douglas 12, Powell 7
Powell's title hopes took a hit Thursday afternoon during an error-filled contest against the Cats. The Pioneers, after jumping ahead 3-0 in the first inning, saw their chances of advancing in the winners' bracket evaporate largely because of eight errors over seven innings.
“It was ugly,” Coach Young said of the Pioneers' fielding woes. “I think a lot of it was a sign of us having a young team. For a lot of our guys, it was the first time they had played in the state tournament, and I'm not sure they knew quite how to handle it. But it's something I'm sure they learned from, and hopefully that experience will pay off for them next year.”
The game opened well for the Pioneers, who got a single from Giarrizzo and a run-scoring triple by Jameson. A passed ball allowed another run to score and Gillett increased Powell's lead to 3-0 with an RBI-single after one inning of play.
An error and a walk followed by double gave the Cats their first two runs of the game in the top of the second, but Powell responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the inning. Giarrizzo, after drawing a walk, picked up a stolen base and later scored Powell's fourth run, and Sullivan added an RBI-single.
Trailing 5-2, Douglas took advantage of three walks issued by Gillett, the starter, and a pair of fielding mistakes by the Pioneers. By the end of the Cats' turn at the plate that inning, they had scored five runs on just one hit and were ahead 7-5.
Douglas added to its run total when two more Cats scored in the top of the fourth off Giarrizzo, who entered the game in the previous inning with two outs, the bases loaded and the score tied at 5-5.
Giarrizzo helped Powell get one run back in the bottom of the fourth after ripping a single and later scoring on a wild pitch. However, Douglas again added more runs, this time in the top of the fifth. The Cats finished that inning ahead 11-6 after collecting two runs on three hits and one Powell error.
Douglas got an insurance run in the seventh and held a comfortable 12-6 advantage leading into Powell's final turn at the plate.
The Pioneers didn't go quietly, thanks to a solo home run by Casey Borcher, who was pinch hitting. His blast, according to Coach Young, traveled at least 450 feet, and earned the slugger the nickname Boom Boom.
“It was his first trip to the plate in the tournament, and he just crushed it,” Coach Young said of Borcher's blast. “He hit it as far as I've seen a ball hit in a long time.”
Borcher's home run was one of the highlights of Powell's 10-hit attack. Also enjoying a solid game at the plate was Giarrizzo, who finished with three hits and a walk. Pioneers collecting one hit each were Jameson, Geiser, Sullivan, Dahlgren, Gillett and Carter.
On the mound, Gillett suffered the loss.
As for the remainder of the tournament, Wheatland claimed the state title for the second season in a row. The Lobos clubbed Riverton 17-7 in the title matchup. Finishing behind those two squads were Douglas and Cheyenne. Powell and Gillette were close behind with 1-2 marks, and Cody and Jackson ended the tournament with identical 0-2 records.