“I’m just shocked more than anything,” said Powell coach Mike Jameson afterward. “You always want to be the team that finishes the season with a win. It’s hard to have one bad day, one hiccup, and be ending the year on a sour note. That’s how it is in life though. Sometimes things don’t work out the way they’re supposed to.”
Jameson’s posture after the game told the full story. Hands on hips, head down and ballcap pulled over his eyes while Cody players and fans celebrated in the infield of Ed Lynn Field, it was obvious that this is a loss that will sting for some time.
The game-ending double was just the final dagger. To achieve the win, Cody was forced to rally from five runs down during its final two at-bats after Powell carried a 12-7 lead into the bottom of the eighth.
The big blow came in the eighth inning as the Cubs connected for a three-run home run with two outs off Hayden Cragoe, who was in his fourth inning of relief work. Combined with a run scored earlier in the inning, the shot drew Cody within a run at 12-11.
The Pioneers looked to be well-positioned entering the ninth with their 9-1-2 hitters due up, but none of the three could get the ball out of the infield. Cody drew a walk to lead off the ninth, chasing Cragoe from the hill. The Pioneers called upon Frankie Vogt to save the contest.
After getting the first out when Cody opted to lay down a sacrifice bunt and advance its baserunner to second, Vogt got the next batter to lift a fly ball to Gage Henderson in left field. With two outs, the next Cody batter singled and advanced to second when the Pioneers tried unsuccessfully to cut down the tying run at the plate, setting the stage for the winning double to the left-center field gap.
Early on, it appeared as though the Pioneers would quickly turn the contest into another typical installment of the Park County clash. Powell, playing as the visiting team, connected for four base hits and three runs in its first at-bat to seemingly get the Cubs on their heels early. Vogt’s double was the biggest shot of the frame.
But the three runs would also be the extent of Powell’s offense in the early going. The Pioneers had baserunners thrown out in both the second and third innings to cut short potential scoring opportunities. Powell would not have a runner reach scoring position again until the sixth inning as the team let Cody linger.
Eventually, the Cubs took advantage. Cody plated one run in the third inning, then took the lead with five runs in the bottom of the fifth off Powell starter Seth Gilmore, who had also thrown two and two-thirds innings at the conclustion of the Powell-Sheridan game earlier in the day.
Powell immediately recovered two of the runs in the top of the sixth as Vogt singled and Jake Beuster walked, both with two outs. That set the table for Olie Olson’s two-run triple.
Cody scored once in the bottom of the sixth, but that run was immediately negated when Lynn opened the seventh inning for Powell with a solo home run. Five more runs followed as the Pioneers paraded 11 batters to the plate in the inning.
Powell added another run in the eighth. As was the case many times throughout the year though, the Pioneers stranded the bases loaded in the eighth though after drawing back-to-back outs that failed to plate any more runs, leaving the door open for the Cubs’ late rally.
The late game for Powell became necessary following a 14-7 loss to Sheridan in the tournament championship game earlier on Saturday. The morning start was prompted by Friday’s evening’s storms that forced a postponement in the North district title game.
A two-run homer in the top of the first by Sheridan gave the Troopers a lead they would never relinquish, although the Pioneers were close throughout much of the game. Five errors ultimately led to Powell’s undoing in the contest.
Nowhere was that more evident than in the sevneth inning. Trailing 7-5, Powell brought Gilmore in to relieve Pioneer starter Jake Beuster on the mound. Gilmore would successfully strike out the first two batters he faced, but not before the Pioneers threw the ball into the outfield on an attempted steal, then threw the ball into left field while attempting to pick a runner off third with two outs, giving up runs in both cases.
Although Powell was able to get back one of those runs with an RBI single from Olson in the bottom of the seventh, the team’s hourglass ran out when Sheridan uncorked a five-run inning in the top of the ninth.
Gilmore and Josh Cragoe each homered in the championship game for Powell. The Pioneers finished with 15 hits, one more than Sheridan in the contest, but failed to be as efficient scoring runners.
Beuster finished with nine hits and six walks in 6.1 innings pitched to take his second loss of the season. Both came at the hands of the Troopers. Gilmore struck out six in 2.2 innings of work in relief.
Offensively, Vogt had a strong Saturday for Powell, going 6-for-10 in the two games combined. Four of those hits were doubles. Hayden Cragoe added a 5-for-10 day at the plate while Gilmore closed out his Pioneer career with a 4-for-8 showing that included a team-best four RBIs.
Cody and Sheridan advance to represent the North district at state this week. They’ll be joined by defending champion Wheatland and Laramie from the South.
The Pioneers finish their season with a 36-15 mark. Players Jake Beuster, Seth Gilmore, Josh Cragoe and Olie Olson all saw their final action for the Legion program in Powell as all will surpass the age limit for next summer’s squad.
In other tournament games for Powell:
Powell 16, Gillette 6
With teammates sporting wristbands and ballcaps bearing the initials KN in honor of his father Kyle Nix, who passed away from cancer earlier in the week, Dillon Nix entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning and promptly delivered the RBI that secured a 16-6 victory for Powell in its tournament opener.
“I don’t think you could have drawn that up any better,” said Jameson. “It was an emotional game that night. I doubt I was the only one that had tears in my eyes when that happened.”
In all, Powell picked up 21 hits in the contest, including seven extra-base hits, to cruise past the Rustlers, Gillette’s Class A team. The Rustlers were eligible to compete for the North district title this season, thanks to an adjustment to the Wyoming Class A postseason.
Justin Lynn went 4-for-5 with three RBIs hitting out of the Pioneers’ No. 9 slot. Olie Olson and Seth Gilmore each added three hits while Ty Whiteman came in as a pinch hitter to go 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs.
Whiteman also picked up a save for Powell, throwing the final 2.2 innings of the game, allowing three hits while striking out five. Whiteman entered the game in the fifth inning to relieve starting pitcher Bryce Wright. Wright gave up six hits and five walks, but struck out seven batters as he improved to 3-1 on the hill.
The save was Whiteman’s first this year as the youngster was used primarily in a starting capacity for much of the season.
Powell broke the contest open in the second inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and transforming a 1-1 tie into a 6-1 Pioneer lead that Gillette would never challenge. Despite the score, the Pioneers failed to capitalize on several chances. Powell left the bases loaded in the first, second and fifth innings, prompting the first-round game to go seven of the scheduled nine innings before ending on the run rule.
Powell 12, Casper 0
Josh Cragoe tossed a complete-game three-hitter and the Powell bats menaced another opponent as the Pioneers cruised past the Casper Drillers in a seven-inning affair.
“Josh did a great job of hitting his spots and trusting his defense,” said Jameson. “He knows he’s not a strikeout pitcher, but he figured out this season that if he spots the ball well and trusts his defense that he can be a very effective pitcher. This was probably his best game on the hill.”
Frankie Vogt finished 3-for-3 at the plate with a towering home run and two doubles. Jake Beuster added a 3-for-4 night that saw him double and drive in a pair of runs. Olson also finished with three RBIs as the Pioneers were never threatened.
Powell scored all the runs it would need in the first inning, chaining together a trio of two-out hits and a walk to plate three runs. The Pioneers added two more runs in the third as Vogt and Beuster hit back-to-back RBI doubles before the Drillers even managed their first baserunner off Cragoe.
Powell added two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, the latter two on Vogt’s monstrous home run that was so evident off the bat that Casper’s outfielders shuffled only a couple steps in token chase. It was Vogt’s team-leading eighth blast of the summer.
Cragoe was in such control on the hill that Casper only managed multiple baserunners on one occasion. Even then, the situation didn’t last long as the Pioneers eliminated the threat with an inning-ending double play.
Cody 9, Douglas 5
Casper 7, Lovell 4
Sheridan 18, Riverton 2
Powell 16, Gillette 6
Douglas 13, Riverton 10 (10 innings)
Gillette 16, Lovell 13
Sheridan 20, Cody 1
Powell 12, Casper 0
Cody 14, Gillette 8
Douglas 10, Casper 4
Cody 5, Douglas 2
Sheridan 14, Powell 7
Cody 13, Powell 12
Final season stats
FInal record — 36-15, 12-0 in conference.
Batting average — Seth Gilmore .539, Frankie Vogt .456, Jake Beuster .431, Josh Cragoe .409, Justin Lynn .382, Hayden Cragoe .377, Olie Olson .361, Bryce Wright .351, Dillon Nix .333, Gage Henderson .317, Cory Heny .308, Sho Hei Saito .208, Ty Whiteman .200, Jared Wantulok .182, Zander Andreasen .118.
Runs scored — Vogt 65, Heny 64, H. Cragoe 58, Gilmore 53, Olson 48, J. Cragoe 45, Beuster 43, Lynn 32, Henderson 29, Wright 25, Wantulok 12, Nix 7, Andreasen 7, Whiteman 6, Saito 4.
Hits — Vogt 78, Gilmore 69, H. Cragoe 55, Heny 48, Beuster 47, J. Cragoe 45, Olson 44, Wright 40, Lynn 34, Henderson 33, Wantulok 10, Nix 9, Saito 5, Whiteman 5, Andreasen 2.
Doubles — Vogt 22, Gilmore 15, Beuster 11, Henderson 8, Lynn 7, Olson 7, H. Cragoe 5, J. Cragoe 5, Wright 5, Heny 3, Nix 1, Whiteman 1.
Triples — Vogt 5, Gilmore 3, Lynn 3, Olson 3, J. Cragoe 2, Beuster 2, Henderson 2, Heny 2, H. Cragoe 1.
Home runs — Vogt 8, Gilmore 8, Heny 3, H. Cragoe 3, Beuster 3, J. Cragoe 1, Lynn 1.
Walks — Heny 43, Olson 32, Beuster 30, J. Cragoe 23, Wright 19, Lynn 18, Gilmore 16, H. Cragoe 15, Henderson 13, Vogt 12, Andreasen 12, Whiteman 6, Saito 5, Wantulok 4, Nix 4.
Runs batted in — Vogt 80, Gilmore 46, H. Cragoe 40, Olson 38, Beuster 37, J. Cragoe 35, Wright 32, Heny 30, Henderson 26, Lynn 19, Andreasen 8, Whiteman 7, Wantulok 5, Nix 5, Saito 2.
Pitching records — J. Cragoe 4-1, Vogt 0-2, 1 save, Whiteman 6-1, 1 save, Olson 3-1, Gilmore 2-1, 2 saves, Wright 3-1, 1 save, Henderson 1-0, 1 save, H. Cragoe 4-2, Matt Brown 0-1, Heny 3-3, Beuster 9-2.
Strikeouts — Beuster 62, Gilmore 44, Whiteman 41, H. Cragoe 30, Vogt 22, Olson 20, Wright 17, Heny 17, J. Cragoe 13, Brown 5, Henderson 2.
Innings pitched — Beuster 59.1, Whiteman 52.1, Heny 35, H. Cragoe 34.2, Gilmore 30.1, J. Cragoe 24.2, Olson 23, Wright 17, Vogt 14, Brown 7.2, Henderson 3.2.