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July 10, 2012 8:04 am

Big leads melt in weekend heat

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Dacen Phister strides out as he delivers a pitch to the plate during weekend Little League action in the Twin Cities tournament in Powell. The Powell minors’ division all-stars won their pool on Friday but fell to a Riverton rally in the semifinals on Saturday. The team opens sectional play in Cody tonight. Dacen Phister strides out as he delivers a pitch to the plate during weekend Little League action in the Twin Cities tournament in Powell. The Powell minors’ division all-stars won their pool on Friday but fell to a Riverton rally in the semifinals on Saturday. The team opens sectional play in Cody tonight. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Minors’ all-stars ousted in semifinals

If the weekend proved anything, it showed that early leads really don’t mean much when it comes to Little League baseball. Powell’s all-stars finished 2-1, falling in the semifinals of the Twin Cities Tournament.

In each of those three games, the team to grab the early lead failed to hold it at the end of the game.

Powell opened play against the Cody B-team and came out of the blocks extremely slow. Cody scored four runs in its first at-bat to put Powell in an immediate hole.

Dylan Cordes singled and eventually scored during Powell’s first at-bat, but the Minors’ division all-stars were in catch-up mode for much of the five-inning contest. Powell added two more runs in the third frame when Trevor Groves drove home Zane Cordes and Jesse Brown followed three batters later with an RBI single to plate Colin Queen.

Powell grabbed its first lead in the fourth inning, adding four more runs to the scoreboard as the team batted around in the inning. Groves and Zane Cordes each delivered RBIs in the frame.

Cordes was also helping Powell out on the mound. After coming aboard in the third inning in relief of starter Dacen Phister, Cordes retired the first six batters he faced. Included in that stretch was a 1-2-3 fourth inning which required him to throw just three pitches.

Cody finally cracked through with a run against Cordes in the fifth to pull within 7-5. Garrett Stutzman doubled and scored leading off the bottom of the fifth for Powell to recover the run and time was called before the sixth inning could start, delivering an 8-5 victory to the all-stars.

Powell’s second pool play contest on Friday followed a similar script. Lovell jumped on Powell for five runs in the first inning to take immediate control of the contest.

Lovell’s advantage remained on the board until Powell came to bat in the second inning. The all-stars sent 11 batters to the plate that frame, scoring six. Groves had the only RBI of the inning as Powell took a 6-5 lead.

The damage done in the second inning was merely the tip of the iceberg, however. When Powell stepped to the plate in the third inning, it sent 20 batters to the dish, adding 14 additional runs to its total and putting the game away.

Groves, Zane Cordes, Charlie Whitlock, Queen, Phister and Nate Brown each scored twice in the inning for Powell. Phister also had three RBIs in the frame.

Four different pitchers spent time on the mound for Powell as the coaching staff went with a committee approach to preserve pitches for the second day of the tournament. After the first inning, the Powell mound crew allowed just one baserunner to Lovell, that coming on a second-inning bunt. Powell recorded five of the game’s final seven outs via strikeout.

The Friday wins left the all-stars first in their pool and set up a Saturday semifinal game against Riverton.

After two scoreless innings to open the contest, Powell broke on the scoreboard with a seven-run third. Josh Hine and Groves both doubled in the inning. Hine’s shot drove in a pair of runs as Powell sent 12 batters to the plate to grab what seemed a significant lead.

Riverton answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, but Powell immediately recovered one of the runs in the top of the fourth as Zane Cordes led off with a single and scored on Ashton Brewer’s infield grounder.

That’s where the troubles began for Powell, however. In the fourth inning, the all-stars watched a parade of Riverton batters reach base via walks and hit batters. Riverton plated 11 runs before the game was called on time with the all-stars having recorded just two outs in the frame. The final score of 14-8 eliminated Powell from tournament play.

Riverton went on to face Cody’s all-star team for the tournament championship.

The Twin Cities tournament was a training ground for the end-of-the-season action that starts this week. The Powell all-stars represent the community in sectional play starting today (Tuesday) in Cody. Tournament action continues Wednesday and Thursday evenings with the top teams returning to Cody July 18-21 for district tournament play.

The Minors’ division state tournament will be held July 25-28 in Green River.

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