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Pioneers wrap up perfect campaign

A Lovell baserunner loses a footrace as he’s tagged out by Powell’s Josh Cragoe after getting trapped in a rundown between second and third base.  A Lovell baserunner loses a footrace as he’s tagged out by Powell’s Josh Cragoe after getting trapped in a rundown between second and third base. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Powell draws Douglas to open District tournament

The Powell Pioneers put the finishing touches to an undefeated conference season by vanquishing Lovell 11-1 and 19-0 in American Legion baseball action on Sunday. The Pioneers carry a 30-15 overall record into North District tournament play in Gillette this week.

After enduring some close calls in their previous conference games at Cody, the Pioneers made sure their fans didn’t have to worry. After a pair of scoreless innings in the first game, Powell broke into the scoring column on Tyler England’s two-run home run to center. Seth Gilmore followed two batters later with another two-run blast, this one clearing the wall in right-center, for a 4-0 lead.

Josh Cragoe and Olie Olson each delivered RBIs in the bottom of the fourth. The Pioneers also scored on a passed ball in the inning to stretch the gap to 7-0.

After Lovell turned a fifth-inning lead-off double into the Mustangs’ only run of the contest, Powell broke out its fourth inning script to again add three runs. This time, it was Colt Nix and Cragoe delivering RBIs to go along with Frankie Vogt’s charge home on a passed ball to make it 10-1 Powell.

The Pioneers wrapped up the game on Jake Beuster’s one-out RBI ground ball in the sixth inning.

England took the win on the mound. Despite not pitching in a live game since his second summer of Babe Ruth baseball, the Pioneers’ returning all-stater looked right at home in his new surroundings. England finished the night allowing just one run on four hits. He walked one, hit two batters and finished with six strikeouts in six innings of work.

“It was different,” England said of his time on the hill. “I came out and worked some on Friday to get ready for it, but this was the first time since Babe Ruth that I’ve thrown in a game.”

As in-control as the Pioneers appeared in the early game, they found a way to step up their game in the nightcap. Powell bats unleashed a 19-run, 16-hit barrage that left Lovell throwing in the towel after three and a half innings of play.

Much of that damage came in a 12-run second inning during which the Pioneers paraded 16 batters to home plate. Surprisingly, only one of Powell’s hits in the big frame was of the extra-base variety. That hit was Olie Olson’s two-run double, which sent Powell’s lead into double figures.

All but one of the batters in Powell’s lineup recorded at least one hit in the contest and all nine scored at least one run in the contest. A number of Pioneers had impressive game totals in the lopsided win.

Seth Gilmore began his night on a quest to finish the regular season with a batting average above .500. After a 4-for-4 showing at home plate in the nightcap, the first-year Pioneer actually raised his batting average to .517 for the season.

Cragoe finished 3-for-3 with four runs scored. England also scored four runs in the nightcap while Vogt drove home a team-best four RBIs in the game.

Vogt was also the beneficiary of Powell’s offensive outburst, tossing a one-hit shutout on the mound. Vogt was backed by some solid glovework behind him as he struck out just two batters in four innings of work but received an error-free performance in the field behind him. Only one Lovell batter progressed beyond first base in the contest.

The Pioneers will spend the early portion of the week resting up in preparation for the North District tournament. That post-season event gets started on Thursday in Gillette. The Pioneers draw Douglas as their opening-round opponent. Powell has taken three of four games from the Cats this summer.

The top four teams at the North District tournament earn spots on the state tournament bracket in Cheyenne the following week. Lovell, Cody, Riverton, Gillette, Casper, Douglas and Sheridan will also be participating in the North District event.

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