Team finishes second in consolation bracket
Had it been the World Cup, it would have been called the Group of Death. As it was, Powell's 11-12 Little League All-Stars found themselves in the toughest of pools at the state tournament last week in Riverton.
Dealt into a pool that included three-time defending state champion Laramie, Rock Springs and Torrington, Powell had its work cut out for it at the start of the event. By the time the tournament ended, those same four teams were the only ones from the field of 16 still playing baseball.
During pool play Powell was unable to get much going offensively. Powell opened play against the favored Laramie team, with Laramie winning the game 12-0. The game included five Laramie home runs.
Next, Powell played Rock Springs in what was a must-win contest for both teams if they had any hope to advance to the championship bracket. Despite some outstanding defensive play and pitching, Powell was again unable to muster any offense and lost the contest, 5-0.
The final game of pool play matched Powell against Torrington, which had handed Laramie its first state tournament loss in three years the previous day. Although Powell was finally able to muster some offense, Torrington won the game 11-4.
When single-elimination bracket play began on Thursday, Powell began as the fourth seed from its pool in the consolation bracket. Powell was matched against Lander, who quickly discovered that Powell had found their bats.
Powell scored three runs in each of the first three innings and five in the fifth. Kaden Moore hit a single, a double and a triple, scoring two runs in the effort. Carson Asher had a single and two doubles, and also scored two runs. Jeron Smith, Blaze Flores, Ty Linebaugh, Alex Aguirre and Cole Brown all contributed to the pitching effort and silenced Lander's comeback bid. Powell won the game 14-10.
On Friday, Powell faced a tenacious 3-1 Platte County team from Wheatland. Powell kept its offense going as Ezra Andreasen went 4-for-5 from his lead-off spot, Carson Asher went 4-for-5 with a two-run home run and three singles, and Zac Schuler went 3-for-3 with a double and two singles. Grady Sanders and Blaze Flores combined for the win against the small-ball minded Platte County team. Powell prevailed 12-9.
The win left Powell as one of only four teams remaining in bracket play on Saturday. Laramie and Torrington met in the state championship game while Powell and Rock Springs were meeting for the consolation championship.
Unfortunately for Powell, the Rock Springs team had been able to conserve its pitching ace for the game, and Powell lost the shortened contest 14-0.
“Despite the difficult pool placement, the young Powell ball players demonstrated their character and perseverence by making it to the consolation championship game,” said Chris Brown, coach of the team. “We'd hoped for a better record during the tournament, but the players' no-quit attitude certainly left a lasting impression on their opponents.”