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Pioneers reach final four

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Dallas Robirds fires a throw in from left field in Powell's opener versus Ashland, Ore. Tribune photo by John Wetzel

Team overcomes poor start to reach Monday

They may not have gotten the start they wanted, but the Powell Pioneers are exactly where they were a year ago — playing baseball as a member of the Northwest Regional tournament's final four. The Pioneers bounced back from a 15-1 loss to Ashland, Ore., in the opening round to knock off Olympic, Wash., and Blacksmith Fork, Utah, to reach this point.

“We're sticking around for one more day,” head coach Mike Jameson said after the Pioneers held off Utah for an 11-7 victory on Sunday. The Pioneers were scheduled to face Bonneville, Idaho, in a Monday afternoon contest that had not been completed at press time. The Pioneers were up 10-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning when today's (Tuesday) newspaper went to press.

Tyler England shook free from a late-season slump to go 4-for-5 at the plate with a trio of RBIs. Auston Carter added three RBIs of his own, including a critical two-out base hit that helped lift the Pioneers to a 9-4 lead and finally achieve a measure of daylight on the scoreboard.

Much like a year ago, Powell's Grant Geiser came through with a clutch day three pitching performance to pick up the win. Geiser struck out just one batter while allowing 10 hits, but controlled the damage to pick up the win. Scotty Jameson tagged in to throw the final seven outs, striking out three, to pick up his second save of the season.

All 10 of Powell's RBIs and 11 of the team's 13 hits in the game were achieved by the bottom five batters in Powell's lineup.

One day earlier, it was the top of the Pioneers' batting order that provided much of the damage. Three of Powell's first four batters in the contest doubled as the team jumped on Olympic, Wash., for four runs in the first half-inning.

The scoring pace slowed from there, but not for lack of opportunity. The Pioneers stranded 14 baserunners in the contest, but still recorded a 9-0 shutout victory.

Grant Geiser went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Geiser also helped preserve the Pioneers' shutout by recording a pair of put-out assists from center field in the eighth inning.

Josh Cragoe and Scotty Jameson each added two hits in the victory. Auston Carter and Colter Bostick had two RBIs apiece.

Jameson threw seven innings, striking out four, to earn the victory. Colt Nix threw the final two innings as the pair combined to register a six-hit shutout.

Those two games stood in stark contrast to the Pioneers' tournament opener in Bozeman. Powell encountered an opening-round buzzsaw as the team fell 15-1 to Ashland, Ore.

Olie Olson tripled and finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Grant Geiser added a 2-for-3 performance with a double, but the Pioneers had little else to smile about. Tyler England and Josh Cragoe had the game's only other hits for the Pioneers, who struggled tremendously at the plate.

Ashland needed just seven innings to close down the defending third-place team in the region in Powell.

Powell had numerous scoring opportunities but could not get key hits when needed.

The Pioneers stranded a leadoff double in the fourth inning. The team wasted a leadoff triple in the fifth frame.

Powell's final at-bat saw the team load the bases with nobody out and manage its only run of the game via a wild pitch.

Two additional Pioneer innings were led to premature endings when baserunners were caught in run-downs and tagged out after straying too far from base.

The Pioneers will continue to play for as long as they win in Bozeman. The Northwest Regional tournament is scheduled to wrap up tonight (Tuesday) with the championship game.

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