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Pioneers sweep Lovell in convincing fashion

The Powell Pioneers received a pair of knock-out pitching performances and combined that with another strong day at home plate to post wins of 24-5 and 10-0 in Lovell on Tuesday. The wins improve the Pioneers to 22-12 overall and 8-0 in conference play.

It also moves the team within a game of clinching the Northwest quadrant title for another summer.

“We got a lot of runners on and we did a good job of scoring those guys and bringing them home today,” said Pioneers coach Mike Jameson. “That hasn’t always been the case this year. We’ve been notorious for stranding guys on base.”

That certainly wasn’t the case in the opening game of the doubleheader as the Pioneers scored 24 runs, stranding only four baserunners the entire contest.

Powell started the game with two runs in the first inning, Josh Cragoe’s RBI single to score Cory Heny opened the scoring for Powell. Cragoe would eventually move around the bases to score as well.

After a second inning that Jameson would just as soon forget — the Pioneers recorded three outs despite never having an official at-bat in the inning as Jake Beuster walked and was thrown out at home while trying to score on a wild pitch. Justin Lynn was similarly tossed out at the plate after being hit by a pitch to get on base and Gage Henderson recorded the final out of the inning when he was picked off first after also reaching via a walk.

After that minor stumble though, the offensive flood gates opened. Powell batted around the order to add four runs in the third. The team added three more runs in the fourth inning and placed another four on the board in the fifth as they again batted around the order.

That sent the Pioneers into the bottom of the fifth holding a 13-0 lead and threatening to end the game via the run rule. Lovell had other plans, however. The Mustangs cashed in on a pair of Pioneer errors to plate five runs and extend the contest.

The Pioneers responded in a big way. The first 12 batters reached base for Powell in the top of the sixth. The first 11 of those batters crossed home as the Pioneers put the game away with authority.

Frankie Vogt tagged in for Powell starter Hayden Cragoe and struck out the side to end the contest.

“Hayden threw a great game,” Jameson said. “He could have had a shutout, but we made a couple mistakes in the field that let Lovell extend the inning.”

Despite the fifth-inning hiccup and a gametime temperature in the triple digits, Cragoe threw a solid game. He finished allowing just six hits, half of which came in that fifth inning, He walked a pair and struck out nine batters as he improved to 3-2 for the season.

At the plate, Heny finished 3-for-3 with five runs scored. Josh Cragoe added a 3-for-3 performance that resulted in four RBIs. All nine of Powell’s starters registered at least one hit in the contest.

In the nightcap, Powell handed the ball to staff ace Jake Beuster, who needed just 53 pitches to pitch a four-hit shutout and improve to 5-1 for the summer.

“All our pitchers tonight really threw well,” said Jameson. “Hayden had the one bad inning, but that’s on our defense more than it was on him. Frankie shut the door in that game and Jake did what we expect him to do by going right at the batters and challenging them.”

Beuster fanned six Lovell batters in the game.

Powell scored the only runs it would need in the first inning as Vogt crushed a three-run homer to left field. Powell aded a run in the second, then got four more runs in the third as Seth Gilmore led off that inning with a triple and scored immediately on a double from Vogt, who finished the game with four RBIs. The Pioneers added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings to get the game to its 10-run final margin.

The Pioneers have a rare summer weekend off this week. The team returns to action on Tuesday with a doubleheader at Miles City, Mont. That twinbill will serve as a prelude to next week’s Deveraux Tournament in Casper.

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