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Powell Pioneers split games in Billings

Powell Pioneer catcher Olie Olson frames a pitch during recent doubleheader action against Sheridan. The Pioneers went 2-2 over the weekend in Billings and depart later this week for a tournament in Williston, N.D. Powell Pioneer catcher Olie Olson frames a pitch during recent doubleheader action against Sheridan. The Pioneers went 2-2 over the weekend in Billings and depart later this week for a tournament in Williston, N.D. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Team tops Helena, Halos

The Powell Pioneers moved to 11-8 this American Legion baseball season after scoring a split of four games at Aaron’s Tournament in Billings over the weekend. The Pioneers scored wins over Helena and the Billings Halos, but fell to both Great Falls and the Billings Cardinals.

The team also played a doubleheader Monday night against Douglas. Results from that twinbill will appear in Thursday’s edition of the Powell Tribune.

Great Falls 13, Powell 12

The Pioneers fell behind by a 10-0 count before ever getting to swing the bat in this contest.

“Great Falls swung the bat well,” said Pioneers head coach Mike Jameson. “(Starting pitcher) Josh Cragoe wasn’t throwing the ball that bad. It was just one of those nights where everything they hit, they hit hard.”

To Powell’s credit, however, the team didn’t roll over. Cragoe countered with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate. Teammates Olie Olson and Seth Gilmore matched him. Frankie Vogt added a 2-for-4 day that included two doubles and two RBIs as the Pioneers hammered out 18 hits of their own.

“It isn’t often you pound out 18 hits and wind up losing the game, but that’s what we did,” said Jameson. “To our credit, we didn’t lie down for them. We fought back, but just couldn’t dig ourselves out of that hole.”

After chasing Cragoe from the mound, Great Falls managed just three runs against Pioneer reliever Garrett Czapla.

“That was a big performance,” Jameson said. “We don’t have a lot of depth, so we needed someone to come in and eat some innings for us and Garrett did a good job of that for us. He threw the ball well in relief.”

Powell 7, Helena 6

Justin Lynn threw the win and Hayden Cragoe tagged in to register the save as Powell took a one-run victory over Helena.

For the second game, Vogt went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs. Gilmore added a 2-for-2 day at the dish and provided two more RBIs for the Pioneers.

“We picked up pretty early on the fact that their pitcher had a slow delivery to home plate when there were runners on base,” Jameson said. “We were able to use our athleticism to take lots of extra bases and create scoring chances for ourselves.”

Czapla led the parade of base stealers for the Pioneers by swiping three bags in the contest. Gilmore added two stolen bases.

Cardinals 13, Powell 5

Early fielding errors came back to haunt the Pioneers in an eight-run loss under the lights in Billings.

“There were a number of routine plays that we didn’t make early on,” said Jameson. “We gave them five or six outs those first three innings and the Cardinals are a good team. They’re going to make you pay if you do that.”

Olson took the loss on the hill after being betrayed by the defense behind him. Josh Cragoe continued his frantic hitting pace by going 4-for-4 at bat with a pair of RBIs.

“The whole story of that game really was our errors,” said Jameson. “We were playing late at night, under the lights and in front of their home crowd. I don’t know if it got to us or what, but our focus wasn’t quite on.”

Powell 9, Halos 7

The Pioneers wrapped up their busy tournament weekend with a two-run win over the Billings Halos. It was the fourth meeting of the season between the two clubs.

Colt Nix got the win after throwing five strong innings. Tyler England, back from an appearance in the Wyoming Shrine Bowl, made his presence felt with a 2-for-4, two RBI performance. England also made a potentially game-saving play in center field late, running down a deep drive to center before crashing into the wall after the catch.

“I definitely thought it was going for extra bases when it was hit,” said Jameson. “He made an excellent play on the ball that saved us.”

Josh Cragoe went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Included in those numbers was a game-opening shot over the left field fence.

“It’s so nice when you can get a home run to lead a game off,” said Jameson. “It just gives everyone a bit of a boost out there.”

Olson added a 4-for-4, two RBI performance batting. Gage Henderson finished the night 2-for-3 in the game.

“The key to this game was our execution,” said Jameson. “Nate Fulton had a couple excellent sacrifice bunts for us that moved runners into scoring position and then we were able to get the hits behind him to score them.”

The Pioneers travel to Williston, N.D., for a tournament beginning on Thursday and running through the weekend.

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