Pioneers manager Jason Borders said it was “just one of those nights” for Heny, who pinpointed his fastball throughout the game.
“Sometimes you just get in a zone and it works,” Borders said. “We’ve thrown some no-hitters ... but a perfect game, that’s pretty hard to do.”
Heny’s night started with a nine-pitch, three-strikeout first inning, and ended with a three-strikeout fifth. The right-hander found himself in a three-ball count only twice.
Heny’s ability to throw strikes anywhere in the zone helped him in an outing that was equal parts dominant and efficient.
“He was just working it in and out and up and down,” Borders said. “He was dialed in. He wasn’t missing. He was just on.”
Powell (3-2, 2-0 Northwest) received offensive contributions from every spot in the order. Every Pioneer either scored or drove in a run and all but one player got on base.
The early game against Lovell was the first in which Powell’s full lineup started and finished the game. The Pioneer lineup went 8-for-20 with 11 walks to keep the Mustang defense on its toes all night.
“It seems we’re getting better, it’s just a matter of getting these guys together and playing together,” Borders said.
The Pioneers broke the first game open with a seven-run third inning in which they had five hits, took four walks and a batter was hit by a pitch.
Catcher Jared Wantulok hit a two-run double and Grady Sanders hit two-run single and Zander Andreasen and second baseman Hayden Cragoe each had RBI singles in the inning.
Andreasen scored three runs and drove in another in his first start of the season. Andreasen was 2-for-2 with a walk and got himself into scoring position with three stolen bases, including one of third base.
Shortstop Matt Sweet was 1-for-1 with three walks, scored two runs and stole second as he continues to produce from the two spot.
First baseman Bryce Wright went 0-for-4 from the clean-up spot but drove in two runs on ground balls in the first and fourth innings.
Third baseman Grady Sanders had his streak of perfection snapped. Sanders lined out to center in the second inning of Game 1 for his first out of the season. Sanders went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in each game. He’s now 12-for-16 on the season.
Sanders followed Heny on the mound in Game 2 and continued Powell’s strong pitching by allowing one run on four hits, one walk and nine strikeouts in six innings of a 10-1 victory.
Ty Whiteman came in to pitch the seventh and closed out the game with a 1-2-3 frame.
Heny did most of his damage from the plate in Game 2. Moved to center field, Heny went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs scored.
While Wright’s bat was cool in Game 1, it was Powell’s biggest weapon in Game 2.
Wright hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to extend Powell’s one-run lead to a five-run lead.
“It was a pretty tight game at that point,” Borders said. “It was big.”
Wright hit his slam off Lovell pitcher, fellow Greybull resident and friend Calder Forcella.
Andreasen led off the inning with a walk, Heny followed with a bunt single and Sweet was safe when he bunted two of his fastest teammates over.
Brendon Phister, who was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases, scored the final Pioneer run on a Wantulok single following Wright’s four-run blast.
Lovell led 1-0 in the third but Powell loaded the bases in the exact same fashion as in the fifth (Andreasen walk, Heny bunt single, Sweet bunt) before Sanders hit a single to center that scored Andreasen and Heny.
The Andreasen-Heny-Sweet trio has provided Powell with a lot of speed so far this season and Borders said he plans to use his team’s strength to his advantage.
“We’re pretty fast,” Borders said. “That’s one thing I noticed last night. We can run on people.”
Taking walks, stealing bags and making productive outs when necessary are the kinds of things Borders likes to see from his veteran team.
“It’s just good fundamental baseball we played last night,” Borders said. “They’re just 18-year-olds that are headsy and have played the game long enough.”
The Pioneers played Cody in an exhibition game Wednesday evening after press time. Official scores and stats will not be kept for the game, which is for the teams’ younger players to get more playing experience.
The Cody Cubs are 6-4 overall and have not yet played a conference game. The Cubs will play Lovell in a home doubleheader June 17 before playing in Powell June 25.
The Pioneers are on a three-game win streak but Borders warned his squad that the road, figuratively and literally, only gets tougher.
Powell travels to Sheridan Friday for a 5 p.m. doubleheader and then to Billings to take on the Halos for a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.
“It doesn’t get easy,” Borders said. “We’re going to Sheridan on the road and the Halos on the road. You can’t just pat yourself on the bat and think you’re really good.”
Sheridan, of AA, is 5-5 and beat Powell 12-5 and 12-2 May 18. Powell beat the Halos at home 10-9 May 31.