Vogt’s dominant performance was everything head coach Jason Borders was looking for against a division rival.
“In a big game like that, it’s huge,” Borders said. “Our guys don’t really have to worry about anything other than scoring runs.”
Borders said that after losing in the district tournament as the No. 1 seed the past two years, he is making it a priority to win the Northwest Division and get an automatic berth to state.
“We just take care of business during conference and get ourselves there (to state) that way,” he said.
Vogt struck out everyone in the Mustang lineup at least once, including four batters twice and three batters three times. He allowed one single and issued a lone walk on the evening.
Powell’s defense limited its mistakes, though only eight of the Mustangs’ 27 outs came after the ball contacted a Lovell bat.
Powell’s best defense came from catcher Jared Wantulok, who gunned down three Mustang baserunners and tracked down a pop-up in foul territory. He would have caught a second pop-up but a collision with Vogt prevented either from holding on to the ball.
“Frankie walks a guy, Jared shuts them down by throwing him out,” Borders said.
The Mustangs got on the scoreboard first when two Pioneer errors led to a first-inning run, but Vogt shut Lovell down for the final eight frames, leaving plenty of time for the Powell offense to get going.
Cory Heny returned to his spot atop the order after a back injury he suffered during a football camp in Chadron, Neb. Any worry that he wasn’t at full strength was erased when he turned on the first pitch he saw for his third home run of the season.
“Back must be OK,” Borders said after Heny’s towering shot disappeared behind the left field fence. “I think we might have dodged a bullet there. We’re not deep enough to handle too many injuries.”
Sweet was the only Pioneer to have a multi-hit game. The second of his two singles drove in Powell’s final two runs. It was also only the second time this season Sweet did not strike out in a game in which he had at least three at-bats.
“He works hard, he listens, he’s talking to the other guys like Frankie and Hayden and Cory,” Borders said. “He’s had to play, he’s getting more opportunities. That helps.”
Sweet’s eighth-inning grounder through the hole to left field scored Grady Sanders and Wantulok.
Shortstop Hayden Cragoe went 1-for-2 with two walks, an RBI double and a run scored. He also stole his eighth bag of the year, good for third-most on the team.
After going down in order their first time up, the Pioneers took the lead for good in the second inning.
Gage Henderson reached first on an error and was then advanced to second by a Brendon Phister walk.
With runners on first and second, catcher Jared Wantulok came through with Powell’s first hit of the game — a hard line drive to the left-center gap that bounced off the wall and scored both baserunners. Wantulok was tagged out at third trying to stretch his double into a triple.
Vogt’s 19 strikeouts were the most of any Powell pitcher in a single game this season, besting his previous season-best of 14 against the Cody Cubs. At least one Mustang batter struck out each inning and every Mustang hitter struck out in the fifth and eighth innings.
Powell hosts the Heavy Metal Baseball Tournament June 21-23. The Pioneers will play three pool games beginning Friday at 1 p.m. against Douglas, then against Laramie at 7 p.m. and then against Green River Saturday at 7 p.m.