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July 28, 2008 2:18 pm

Pioneers conclude regular season slate

Written by Tribune Staff

District tournament next for Powell
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Pioneer centerfielder Ethan Young makes a successful catch during Powell's doubleheader with Green River Thursday at Ed Lynn Field. Tribune photo by David Dickey
The regular season came to a close for the Powell Pioneers during a split with Green River in doubleheader action at Ed Lynn Field last Thursday.
Powell opened the twinbill by registering an 11-1 victory over the Knights. In the second game, the Pioneers lost a hard-fought, 7-6 contest after staging a furious but failed comeback effort in the seventh and final inning. The two outcomes left the Pioneers with a 31-17 record, which they will carry into Class A's West District Tournament, which begins July 31.
“I like where we're at,” said Jeff Young, head coach of the Pioneers. “Coming into the season, we really didn't know what we had because of so many young players. (Assistant coach) Cody Bradley and I were looking at our lineup and kind of scratching our heads and thinking a .500 season would be realistic. But were sitting here at 31-17. That's a little bit of a surprise for a bunch of new kids. They've had a great season, and we want to build on that next week.”
Among the highlights from Powell's victory in game one was Brandon Sullivan's stellar showing at the plate and another solid pitching effort by staff ace Scotty Jameson. Sullivan did the majority of the damage to the Knights' pitching staff by blasting a pair of home runs and a single during his three trips to the plate. He finished with five RBIs.
“We want our guys to be aggressive at the plate, and that's exactly what Brandon did,” Coach Young said. “I wasn't overly excited about his pitch selection, but he was able to hit the ball hard. The first one he hit out, he was fooled a little bit, but he has good bat speed and was able to hit it out. On the second one, it was a ball up and out of the strike zone. He tomahawked it, and it went out. Brandon doesn't look very big, but he's a strong kid. Usually when he hits it, he hits it hard.”
As for Jameson, he overcame a bumpy start in the first inning to claim his seventh win of the season. He gave up just one run on five hits. Two of those hits and Green River's lone run came during the first inning. After that, however, Jameson settled into a steady rhythm and yielded little else to the Knights. His control was evident from his ability to go five innings without issuing a walk. He also struck out seven Green River batters.
“Scotty had good command of his pitches,” Coach Young said. “We're working on a few things with him, and Green River was able to get some hits off of him. But for the most part, he had them frustrated. They only had one ball that was hit hard the whole game. Scotty has thrown the bell very well in his last two outings, and that's a good way to go into the district tournament next week.”
After falling behind 1-0 after Green River's first trip to the plate, Powell answered with eight runs in the bottom of the inning. Gianluca Giarrizzo started the six-hit attack in the bottom of the first by ripping a single. Jameson followed with a walk. After an out by Grant Geiser, the Pioneers had a pair of runners in scoring position for Sullivan. The first-year Pioneer took advantage of the scoring opportunity by launching a three-run homer.
Green River was able to get the second out of the inning on a strikeout, but the Pioneers were far from done with their scoring barrage. Trent Gillett kept the inning alive with a single and stolen base, and Andrew Young added a walk. Erik Brimhall drove in Gillett with a single. A passed ball allowed Andrew Young to score Powell's fifth run of the game, and Auston Carter reached first base after being hit by a pitch. That set the stage for Giarrizzo, who continues to bat well above .400 despite an injured thumb. Giarrizzo came through with a two-run double and scored soon after on a double by Jameson. The Knights recorded the third out following Jameson's run-scoring hit, but at that point, the damage had been done and Powell led 8-1. The score stayed that way until the top of the fourth. That's when Sullivan ripped his second homer of the game. His blast came after a single by Jameson and put the Pioneers ahead 10-1.
In the top of the fifth, Jameson gave up a single, but that base runner was soon caught in a rundown following a sacrifice by the Knights. With two outs, Jameson struck out Derek Wood to end Green River's turn at the plate.
The Pioneers, needing just one more run to end the game via the 10-run rule, saw the game come to an end with a run-scoring single by Giarrizzo.
In game two, Coach Jeff Young had an opportunity to play a number of his reserves during a 7-6 setback.
Powell starting pitcher Grant Geiser fell behind 3-0 during the Knights' first trip to the plate, and the Pioneers found themselves trailing throughout the contest.
“During the last three weeks, we've had some kids miss games and had a couple who decided not to finish out the season,” Coach Young said. That's given us an opportunity to play a lot of guys, and everybody got a shot against Green River.”
The Pioneers did cut the deficit to 3-2 after the bottom of the first following an RBI-single by Jameson and a sacrifice and RBI by Dahlgren. Green River maintained that lead until the top of the fourth when the Knights added three more runs for a 6-2 lead. During that inning, Geiser retired the first two batters before surrendering two walks, a single and a three-run double.
Green River starting hurler Steven Zajic silenced Powell's bats in the bottom half of that inning, and Geiser did the same in return during the top of the fifth. A run-scoring single by Jameson in the bottom of the fifth trimmed the Knights' lead to 6-3. That deficit grew to four runs in the top of the seventh.
Trailing 7-3, the Pioneers did mount a late rally and were in a position to tie or win the game in the final inning. Brimhall got the comeback effort going from the No. 8 hole with a leadoff single. Carter and Giarrizzo followed with singles of their own, and Brimhall scored on a passed ball.
Jameson became the first out of the inning with a pop up, but Geiser responded with a two-run double that pulled Powell within a run of tying the game. The Knights, however, retired the Pioneers' final two batters with Geiser in scoring position.
Geiser was tagged with the loss after giving up 1 hits and three walks during five innings on the hill. Giarrizzo, in relief, surrendered two hits and one walk over two innings of work.
The offensive charge for Powell was led by Jameson's three-hit, two-RBI performance. Giarrizzo also had three hits, including a triple.
Geiser finished with one hit and two RBIs, and Dahlgren walked and drove in a run with a sacrifice. Adding one hit each were Ethan Young, Brimhall and Carter.