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July 19, 2012 8:34 am

Conference clinchers

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Sweep of Cody locks Powell Pioneers at No. 1

After breezing through the opener, the Powell Pioneers American Legion baseball team found themselves fighting for a victory in the nightcap at Cody on Tuesday night. In the end, Powell brought home a pair of wins to secure the Northwest quadrant title and a No. 1 seed in the district tournament for another summer.

“The big thing tonight is we wanted to get a win and get that number one seed,” said Pioneer coach Mike Jameson. “Now we’re in the position we wanted to be in when we host the district tournament next week.”

Powell needed just one victory on Tuesday to lock up the conference title, and they did that with ease in the opener. The Pioneers rode a two-hit complete game performance on the mound by Jake Beuster and a load of offense at the plate to a 15-0 five-inning victory.

Cory Heny connected for a three-run homer and Seth Gilmore followed with a two-run shot as Powell scored six times in the second inning to go up big. Powell added four runs in the third and five more in the top of the fifth as the team pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of six walks and four Cody errors in the field.

Justin Lynn went 3-for-4 with three RBIs hitting out of the No. 9 slot in Powell’s batting order. Heny, Gilmore, Frankie Vogt and Bryce Wright each finished with two hits. Heny also had three RBIs.

Beuster finished with six strikeouts to show for five innings of work. He also allowed two hits and walked one Cody batter as he improved to 8-1 on the mound this summer.

Cody reversed the tables in the nightcap, connecting for a pair of early home runs off Powell starter Ty Whiteman to build a 6-3 lead after three innings. The Pioneers scored their early runs thanks to a Hayden Cragoe double to lead off the third inning. That shot was later followed by a two-out RBI double off the bat of Jake Beuster and a subsequent RBI single from Olie Olson.

Powell pulled within a run in the fourth inning, taking advantage of a Cody error to get Heny on second base with one out. Heny scored two batters later on Josh Cragoe’s two-out single. Seth Gilmore followed with a double to drive in Cragoe, but was thrown out attempting to stretch the shot into a triple.

Powell took its first lead in the nightcap one inning later. Beuster and Gage Henderson were each hit by pitches. Sandwiched between was an Olson single, loading the bases with one out.

Lynn singled to drive in a run as the Pioneers played station-to-station. Heny followed with an RBI fielder’s choice ground ball to second. Hayden Cragoe drove in another run with a double and Josh Cragoe tripled to the base of the center field fence to complete a five-run inning for the Pioneers.

Cody drew within 10-9 after five innings, prompting the Pioneers to call upon the services of Gilmore to relieve Whiteman after Powell’s innings leader for the summer allowed a walk to open the sixth inning. Gilmore came aboard to strand the runner in the sixth. Then, after a two-base error put the tying run in scoring position for Cody to open the seventh, Gilmore delivered a trio of strikeouts to end the game.

“It was good to have that type of game,” said Jameson. “Ty threw well, but he left some balls up, which is something you can’t do here. It was a bit of a learning experience for him. Seth came in and shut the door. He threw as hard as I’ve seen him throw. It was just a good Cody-Powell game.”

Olson and Josh Cragoe each finished with three hits in the nightcap. Hayden Cragoe added a 2-for-4 performance as eight of Powell’s nine starting batters finished with an RBI in the game.

The win improved the Pioneers to 30-13 overall for the summer and 10-0 in conference play. Powell, which has won 24 of its last 29 games played, was playing a doubleheader in Riverton when today’s (Thursday’s) issue of the paper went to press. The Pioneers close out the regular season on Saturday with a home doubleheader against Miles City, Mont. First pitch in game one is scheduled for 5 p.m.

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