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Powell scores tight wins at Miles City

The Powell Pioneers improved to 24-12 with a pair of narrow road wins Tuesday at Miles City, Mont. Powell scored a 7-5 extra-inning victory in the opener before registering a 6-4 win in the nightcap.

The team travels to Casper where it will play a series of five games during a three-day span, starting with a game today (Thursday) against Jackson. The Pioneers will also face Canadian teams Moose Jaw and Regina from the province of Saskatchewan, Thompson Valley from Colorado and Torrington.

In Miles City, the Pioneers began the day with a first-inning run as Frankie Vogt’s two-out single chased home Josh Cragoe to start the scoring. The Pioneers threatened to add to their total in the second as Gage Henderson led off the frame with a triple, but could advance no further

Miles City knotted the contest with a run in the bottom of the second, but Powell immediately climbed back on top with a three-run third inning. Hayden Cragoe opened the inning by getting struck by a pitch. Josh Cragoe followed, reaching safely on an infield error. Both scored on Seth Gilmore’s base hit. Gilmore later came in to score on a sac-fly off the bat of Olie Olson.

Hayden Cragoe stretched the lead to 5-1 in Powell’s favor in the fourth inning, singling home Justin Lynn, who reached via a lead-off walk. The Pioneers’ lead-off hitters were outstanding in the contest, safely reaching base to start seven of the eight innings played.

Despite that, Powell was unable to add to its lead, thanks in part to three would-be base stealers gunned down by Miles City’s catcher. The host Outlaws pulled within a run by scoring three times in the bottom of the fourth. Powell starter Ty Whiteman was able to shut the Montana lineup down in the fifth and sixth innings, but, holding a slim 5-4 advantage, was lifted after surrendering a lead-off double to begin the seventh inning.

The Pioneers looked to Jake Beuster to shut the door, and the Pioneers’ ace opened with a strikeout, followed by a ground ball to second that advanced the tying run to third. After surrendering a walk, Miles City took advantage of a wild pitch by Beuster to tie the game and force a continuation of play.

Beuster redeemed himself for the errant pitch by drawing a lead-off walk to begin the extra stanza. Pinch hitter Bryce Wright followed with a two-strike base hit after failing twice to lay down sacrifice bunts. Following an out, Lynn was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game and the fourth time overall for the Pioneers to be hit in the contest, loading the bases.

Lynn also played a role in one of the game’s bigger plays, using a hard slide on Cory Heny’s ground ball up the middle to break up a potential double play, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Hayden Cragoe followed with an RBI single that added an insurance run.

Given a second chance, Beuster worked a 1-2-3 bottom half of the eighth to take the win. Whiteman threw six innings, allowing nine hits and four walks while striking out a pair on the way to a no decision. Beuster worked the final two innings, striking out two and walking one as he improved to 5-1 for the summer with a victory.

Hayden Cragoe finished 3-for-4 at the plate as Powell produced eight hits offensively but also took advantage of 11 free baserunners granted by Miles City.

In the nightcap, the Pioneers again found the scoreboard first. After three scoreless innings, Powell broke onto the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the fourth. That was followed by a four-run fifth inning that included a three-run homer by Vogt to lift Powell to a 6-0 lead.

Miles City scored in the bottom of the fifth and chased Pioneer starting pitcher Wright off the hill, but could manage no more than a single run. Miles City’s final three runs came in the seventh inning off Vogt to give the game a closer final score.

“Bryce threw a good game for us,” said Pioneers coach Mike Jameson. “He only allowed three hits and the one earned run. Frankie (Vogt) came in and struck out four in two and a third innings.”

In addition to his effort at the plate, Wright also swung a mean bat in the second contest, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. Olson and Hayden Cragoe also finished with a pair of hits in the game.

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