Originally scheduled as the centerpiece for Powell’s longest home stand of the summer, the Classic was reduced to a four-team field back in May when one of the invitees opted for a different tournament venue. Despite numerous phone calls, Pioneer coach Mike Jameson was unable to find a replacement squad.
The tournament took another hit last Wednesday when the Billings Blue Jays informed Jameson that they, too, would not be attending. With the Pioneers preparing to leave the next morning for a tournament in Williston, N.D., club officials were left in a difficult position.
“We didn’t have a lot of options,” Jameson said. “I talked to the other coaches and we tried to come up with something that worked best for everyone involved.”
As a result, the Pioneers will play a doubleheader on Friday night against the Billings Angels, one of the teams that had agreed to participate in the Classic. Douglas, the other team still planning to compete in the Classic, will face the Angels in a single game on Saturday morning before heading to Cody, where the team was able to pick up a pair of games for the weekend despite the short notice.
“We tried to see if we could reschedule the doubleheader against Lovell that was rained out earlier this year over the weekend, but that didn’t work either,” said Jameson.
No make-up date for that scheduled May 24 conference twinbill has been set yet.
Despite the need to cancel this year’s tournament, Jameson said there’s no need for area fans to panic about the possible loss of the Legion’s main regular season event.
“This was just a strange, unfortunate one-year deal,” Jameson said. “Next year, I expect we’ll be back to normal and hosting something.”
In fact, the Pioneers’ skipper notes, his team’s recent travels have created some increased interest among teams regarding a trip to Powell.
“We’ve been to Williston two years in a row now, and they’re interested in reciprocating and traveling out here for a game,” said Jameson. “One of the Rapid City teams we played last weekend indicated they’d come out for a tournament, so we’ve created some interest among teams just by going and playing at some of these other events.”
Ideally, Jameson said, the team would like to see the Classic grow into an eight-team annual event.
“That’s what we’re wanting,” he said. “This just turned out to not be a good year.”
The Pioneers were in action last night (Wednesday), hosting Cody. The club carried a 14-11 overall record and a 2-0 Northwest Conference mark into that doubleheader.
The Pioneers’ schedule still features a five-game home stand early next month for those wanting some close-to-home baseball action. The club hosts Green River for a July 2 doubleheader, followed by a nine-inning game against Rock Springs on July 3. The five-game stretch will conclude July 6 with a conference doubleheader against Northwest newcomer Riverton.
Powell wraps up the regular season with a home doubleheader against Rawlins on July 15.