“We took care of business and won a couple of conference games, so it’s hard to be too upset about that,” said Pioneers coach Mike Jameson.
The Pioneers coach was also pleased by his team’s improving performance at the plate. Although, at times Tuesday night, that performance still struggled to plate runs.
For one of the first times this season, the Pioneers provided themselves with an early lead. Justin Lynn’s infield grounder with the bases loaded provided a rare first-inning run for the Pioneers and an early 1-0 lead.
Lynn also brought home a run during a four-run third inning with a well-placed sacrifice that chased home Hayden Cragoe. Jake Beuster also delivered an RBI single in the frame as Powell stretched its lead to 5-0.
Lovell recovered a run in the top half of the fourth, capitalizing on a pair of Powell errors. The momentum was short-lived though.
In the bottom half of the frame, the Pioneers added three runs. Two of those came off a monstrous home run off the bat of Seth Gilmore, his second round-tripper of the season. Justin Lynn added his third RBI of the game in the bottom of the sixth as Powell scord its final two runs of the game.
Frankie Vogt was 2-for-2 and safely reached base in all four of his at-bats, scoring three times for the Pioneers. Cragoe was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.
Ty Whiteman took the win on the hill for Powell. The Legion newcomer went the distance, allowing just three hits and a pair of walks. Lovell’s only run of the contest was unearned as Whiteman struck out five batters.
Every fly ball in the game turned into an adventure as the game was played in a howling southern wind that gusted more than 35 miles per hour at times during the game before finally abating during the nightcap.
In that late contest, Lovell jumped ahead early, tagging Pioneers ace Jake Beuster for a run in the top half of the first. Powell responded in the bottom half of the frame with five runs.
Gilmore delivered a two-run triple to right-center to open the scoring for Powell. Bryce Wright added an RBI ground ball in the stanza as the Pioneers sent 11 men to the plate in the first inning.
The Pioneers continued to pour it on in the second as the first four orange-clad batters reached base safely. Wright’s sacrifice fly to left brought in a run while the Pioneers cashed in on wild Lovell pitching to bring in two more runs for an 8-1 advantage.
The Pioneers were unable to add to that early margin though. The team failed to score a run in the third, fourth or fifth innings. During that time, Lovell gradually chipped back to within 8-4, causing some rumblings of angst within the Pioneers’ dugout.
The scoring drought ended in the sixth inning, when Powell took control of the game once more with a five-run outburst. Cragoe’s two-out, bases-loaded triple provided three of those runs as Lovell went down quietly in the seventh inning.
Beuster took the win, throwing a complete game for the Pioneers. He struck out 10 batters in the contest, but was also tagged for seven hits and allowed three walks.
Gilmore finished 3-for-4 at the dish and was just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle in the nightcap. Beuster scored three runs as the Pioneers took advantage of 10 walks and four hit batters by Lovell pitching.
“We threw the ball fairly well tonight,” said Jameson. “Our fielding, at times, wasn’t where we want it to be, but we were able to get through that and get a couple wins. We’re still using a makeshift lineup.”
The Pioneers were, again, playing without longtime starters Josh Cragoe and Olie Olson. Both are participating in the Wyoming Shrine Bowl this week.
The Pioneers improve to 6-8 overall this summr with the wins. The team travels to Cody this weekend for a tournament. Powell opens against the Billings Angels at 4:30 p.m., Friday. On Saturday, the team faces the Billings Halos at 5 p.m., followed by a game against Cody at 7:30 p.m. The Pioneers’ tournament appearance concludes Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. matchup against Lovell.
The games against Cody and Lovell will both be considered non-conference contests for the purpose of the league standings.