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Shorthanded Pioneers break through for first win Saturday

Luke Washington connects with the ball in the first game of the doubleheader against Cody B on Tuesday, June 6. Washington was injured in the final play of a Friday night game in Riverton, forcing the Pioneers to play with only eight people on Saturday. Luke Washington connects with the ball in the first game of the doubleheader against Cody B on Tuesday, June 6. Washington was injured in the final play of a Friday night game in Riverton, forcing the Pioneers to play with only eight people on Saturday. Tribune photo by Breanne Thiel

Despite being shorthanded, the Powell Pioneers snapped a season-long losing streak with a win over the weekend.

The Pioneers, with only eight players, beat Riverton’s B team 9-6 on Saturday afternoon.

“It was fun to see the guys relax and just play baseball,” said Pioneers Manager George Laughlin said. “And to win with only eight players was a testament to how these guys don’t let anything get them down.”

That followed 6-4 and 8-3 losses to Cody B on Tuesday, June 6, and a 10-0 loss to Riverton on Friday night and a 16-1 loss to the team on Saturday morning.
Riverton

On Friday night in Riverton, “our timing at the plate was off and our guys were having a hard time making solid contact,” Laughlin said.

Jesse Brown started on the mound in game one and shut out the Raiders in the first inning before giving up five runs — four earned — in the second. He allowed four hits.

Nate Brown came in as relief to throw 2 2/3 innings, allowing five runs — only one earned — on four hits with one strikeout.

But the biggest blow in the 10-0 loss, came on the final play. Nate Brown struck out a Riverton batter on a ball in the dirt and the batter took off for first. Catcher Cameron Schmidt blocked the pitch and threw to first baseman Luke Washington, but “unfortunately, [Washington] and the runner collided and [Washington] jammed his wrist,” Laughlin said. “After being checked out by a doctor on the Riverton coaching staff, it was decided that Luke needed to have his wrist X-rayed so the second game of the doubleheader was rescheduled for Saturday morning.”

The X-rays were inconclusive because of the swelling and Washington was unable to play Saturday morning, forcing the Pioneers to go with eight players. Riverton took advantage of the extra opening in the outfield and beat Powell 16-1.

Still shorthanded, Powell then proceeded to play a single game against the Riverton B team, with the second game canceled. That game “was the one the Pioneers had been waiting for,” Laughlin said.

In the first inning, Powell scored three runs.

Colin Queen pitched for Powell and “shut down the Riverton squad for 3 2/3 innings giving up no hits and only one run,” Laughlin said.

Powell added three more runs in the second and one in the third to go up 7-0. Riverton, however, rallied in the fourth and fifth innings to pull within two runs, 8-6.

But the Pioneers added one more run in the sixth and shut down Riverton over the bottom halves of the final two innings to come away with a 9-6 win.

With only eight players, not only was a defensive position open, each time the ninth spot in the batting order came up, the team had to take an out.

“That cost us four or five of the 21 outs that game — some in key situations, too,” said Laughlin. “But the boys took it all in stride and continued playing hard. There’s a resilience among these young men and now they’re building confidence as well. I’m extremely proud of the way they compete every day and am glad they got that first win this season.”

Cody B

Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, June 6, Powell and the Cody B team played a doubleheader at the Pioneer baseball field.

Cody grabbed a one-run lead before Powell scored a run of their own to tie the game in the bottom of the second on with an RBI double from Queen.

Cody took a 2-1 lead in the third inning, then added four more on two hits, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to take a 6-1 lead.

The Pioneers came back in the seventh, scoring three runs. Reece Hackenberg, Tyler Feller and Washington started the inning with hits to load the bases.

After the next two batters were retired, Cameron Schmidt knocked home Hackenberg and Feller and advanced Washington to third base.

Jaxson Carter drove in Washington with a hit. A wild pitch then put the tying runs in scoring position — with Schmidt on third and Carter on second.

However, Cody was able to retire Jesse Brown to hang on for the 6-4 win.

The second game started off a little different with Powell taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning before the Cody B team went up 3-1 in the third. They added four more in the fourth and went on to win 8-3.

“We did a really good job offensively collecting 10 hits in each of the two games,” Laughlin said. “We just need to string some of those hits together and be more aggressive with runners in scoring position. Cody was able to put the ball in play at some key times and that was the difference in the first game.”

Next up for the Pioneers is a doubleheader scheduled at home against Green River tonight (Tuesday) for a conference matchup with game times at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Laughlin said the team is looking “to build some momentum going into the second half of our season.”

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