With the state tournament looming on the horizon, the Powell Major League All-Stars are proving to be a team to keep an eye on, finishing 4-0 and winning the annual Lee Martinez Battle at the Winds Tournament last weekend in Riverton.
“We played four games, and kind of blew through everybody,” said coach Vikki Brown. “The kiddos really played like they had something to prove.”
The eight-team tournament was highlighted by a pair of wins over cross-county rival Cody, including an 8-1 rout in the championship game. Brown said wins against Cody are usually at a premium, so to beat them twice in the same tournament was special.
“In tournaments or district, Cody is usually the team that puts us in the loser’s bracket,” Brown said. “The kids were pretty excited.”
Powell 15, Riverton 10
The Powell All-Stars scored five runs in the first inning and never looked back against host Riverton to open the tourney on Friday. After Riverton cut the lead to 5-4, Powell scored three more runs in the second to take an 8-4 lead. By the fourth inning, however, Riverton had battled back to tie the game at 8.
“They [Riverton] actually got ahead by one in the fifth, but we came back in the sixth to tie it up again,” Brown said. “Then we went into Texas Overtime.”
Powell scored six runs in extra innings, highlighted by a three-run homer by Jhett Schwahn.
Ethan Welch pitched the first three innings of the contest for Powell, Dalton Wortsall pitched the fourth and fifth innings and Cade Queen and Rayce Degraffenreid pitched in extra innings.
Powell 12, Cody 9
After a scoreless inning for both teams to start the contest, Powell exploded for six runs in the second to take an early 6-0 lead; the team plated one more in the third. Cody answered with seven runs in the second and two in the third to take a 9-7 lead.
But Powell tied it up with two runs in the fifth, and the game went into extra innings at 9-9.
“We scored three more in extra innings and won the game,” Brown said.
On the mound for Powell, Alex DeBoer pitched the first two innings, Rayce Degraffenreid pitched the third and fourth, Cade Queen pitched the fifth and Brock Johnson closed out the game.
Powell 3, Lovell 0
Against Lovell — who will be hosting next week’s district tournament — Powell pitched a 3-0 shutout to advance to the championship game.
DeBoer pitched the first three innings for Powell, with Wortsall pitching the fifth and sixth. Degraffenreid closed out the game for Powell. The team’s three runs were scored by DeBoer, Welch and Degraffenreid.
Powell 8, Cody 1
The win over Lovell placed Powell in the championship game, against an all-too-familiar foe. After falling to Powell in extra innings, Cody battled its way back through the loser’s bracket for a shot at the championship.
“Between the time we beat them and sent them into the loser’s bracket to the time we faced them in the championship, Cody had played four more games,” Brown said. “They really had to play their way back in.”
The game was a pitcher’s duel to start, with neither team scoring in the first three innings. That changed in the fourth, when Brock Johnson reached base on a walk, setting the stage for more Jhett Schwahn heroics: Schwahn blasted a triple to score Johnson and break the 0-0 tie.
Powell made things a little more comfortable in the fifth inning: Degraffenreid, DeBoer, Johnson and Queen all had hits to add four runs. Schwahn then had his second triple of the game, and Keona Wisniewski singled to make the game 6-0. Cody plated its only run in the fifth, with a nice play at the plate on a throw by Queen preventing a second run from scoring.
Degraffenreid and Welch scored in the sixth to close out the scoring for Powell, and the All-Stars left Riverton as champs with an 8-1 win. Brown said confidence was the key for Powell in this tournament.
“I’ve been with this team for the last three years, and they weren’t scared at all this year,” Brown said. “They went in, took care of business and were just super-confident.”
The two wins against Cody will be games not soon forgotten by the All-Stars, according to Brown.
“Man, those kids were ecstatic after that last game,” she said. “Beating Cody is a huge accomplishment, they’re always the ones that take us out. To beat them twice, the kids were crying, happy, jumping around ... They were just ecstatic about it; it was really awesome.”
The District Tournament begins Saturday for teams from Big Horn, Riverton, Kemmerer and Green River. The tournament then moves to Lovell on Wednesday, with Powell taking on Lander. Times have yet to be determined.